Matt Henry replaces injured Bracewell for second Test

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Matt Henry has been awarded a place in the New Zealand Test side in place of injured pacer Doug Bracewell for second and final Test of the Trans-Tasman series against Australia in Christchurch, starting Saturday (February 20).

Bracewell injured the rotator cuff of his right shoulder and will sit out of Brendon McCullum’s farewell Test.

The New Zealand captain will be appearing in his 101st Test, on the trot since his 2004 debut. This will also be the 34-year-old’s last international game for New Zealand, at Hagley Oval.

The pitch sports a green tinge in Christchurch and McCullum was left pondering whether to go with a four-man pace attack or with three fast bowlers and a lone spinner Mark Craig.

“Matt Henry will come in for Doug Bracewell and it’s just trying to work out whether we play Mark Craig or Neil Wagner and that’s the decision we’ve got to make,” McCullum told reporters on the eve of the game.

There has been plenty of debate regarding the surface welcoming the two sides for the second Test. Australia had the home side reeling in the first Test at 51 for 5 in their first innings with the ball moving around in the first session, while the Trent Boult-Tim Southee duo couldn’t get any assistance later.

“The pitch looks good. It looks like it’s got a nice healthy covering of grass I’m sure that both team’s bowling lineups will relish it,” McCullum said.

“It’s probably not quite as hard as the Basin (Reserve). I thought the Basin was a really good cricket wicket. It did a lot in that first session and then dried out a little bit quicker than what a team who’s been bowled out for 180 wanted,” the New Zealand skipper added.

McCullum acknowledged that the game is not going to be easy with both sides possessing quality fast bowlers in their ranks. “It’s not going to be necessarily a pleasant time out there with bat in hand (but) I think it will go around for a while. I’m sure this one will be a good contest which will hopefully end up in a result. Hopefully for us,” he concluded.