Cricket: Will Young to open the batting in place of Devon Conway as Blackcaps weigh up bowling attack to face Australia

Will Young will partner Tom Latham at the top of the Blackcaps' batting order for the first of two tests against world champions Australia at the Basin Reserve on Thursday.  

Devon Conway has been ruled out with the thumb injury he sustained in the Twenty20 series.  

It's a blow for the hosts, as the opening test doubles as a farewell for the retiring Neil Wagner, even though he's not playing.  

The captains were all smiles at the Basin Reserve, as Tim Southee and Pat Cummins stood alongside the trophy, which is up for grabs over the next fortnight.

Will Young against England (2022).
Will Young against England (2022). Photo credit: Getty Images

But the Blackcaps will need to compete without one of their best red ball performers over the last few years - Conway.  

However, the conditions will dictate the final make-up of the playing XI.  

"The majority of the team is sort of set," said Southee. "We'll have one final look with the weather around, and [make] one final decision on whether an extra seamer or a spinner will play.  

"But obviously with Devon Conway's unfortunate injury, Will Young will open the batting."  

Unlike their New Zealand rivals, Pat Cummins' side is heading into the opening test at full strength, despite their last test being a shock loss to the West Indies.  

"We've had a good run," he said. "Same XI as the Gabba, no surprises.  

"It's always nice to have a full contingent to pick from."  

But New Zealand also have some extra motivation heading after the retirement of Wagner.

Even though he won't feature in the playing XI, Southee hopes his side can provide the passionate seamer with an ideal send-off.  

"I think [if] you ask every teammate that's played with him, they love him to bits for what he does on the field, but also who he is as a person.  

"He will be missed, but hopefully he enjoys this week around the guys."   

Having not tasted a test series win over Australia since 2011, the Blackcaps will need all the motivation they can get if they are to finally break down their trans-Tasman rivals.