Taylor to miss first Test against Australia


Ross Taylor has been ruled out of New Zealand's first Test against Australia, with Henry Nicholls in line for a debut.

Taylor, 31, is battling an injury to his left side suffered during his team's win over Pakistan in their third Twenty20 on January 22.

He will miss the first Test against Australia starting February 12, but will be monitored for the second outing eight days later.

Also an injury worry for the hosts is wicketkeeper BJ Watling, whose back is being managed with Luke Ronchi named as cover.

But Nicholls is set for his Test debut and coach Mike Hesson was delighted for the 24-year-old batsman.

"Henry has been very impressive the way he's made the step up to international cricket and we're confident of the job he can do for us in the top order," he said.

"We've gone for just the one spinner in Mitch [Santner] and that's based around what we expect the pitches to play like at Hagley [Oval] and the Basin [Reserve].

"Tim [Southee] is a leader within our group and our most experienced bowler, so we're excited to have him fit and a part of our pace bowling attack.

"Matt [Henry] also comes back into the squad after some really strong performances throughout the summer and with Corey's [Corey Anderson] return we now have a number of seam bowling options to consider.

"It's well documented how good a Test side Australia are and we know it will take some exceptional cricket for us to have a chance of taking out the series.

"It doesn't get much bigger for all New Zealand fans than a Test series against Australia."

New Zealand will be eyeing some revenge against Australia after losing their three-Test series 2-0 in November last year.