New Zealand’s injury- and illness-ravaged tour of Australia gained another casualty at the SCG with X-rays confirming Matt Henry had suffered a broken left thumb on the opening day of the final Test.
Henry was struck by a drive from Joe Burns in the first session of the Test and left the field for treatment before returning to bowl and finishing the day with 21 wicketless overs. The thumb has been splinted and strapped and Henry will continue to be available to bowl on the second day but his role with the bat will be determined by the state of the game.
Henry was preferred in the New Zealand side ahead of Tim Southee with coach Gary Stead explaining that his extra pace was one of the factors.
“I guess the decision making around that, we just felt that we wanted a little more pace out there, what Matt Henry sort of offers over Tim,” Stead said. “And being the workload that Tim has had not just in the last two Tests but if you put the last four together, it’s somewhere around 200 overs in a short period of time, just felt that what Matt offered would have given us a point of difference.”
Henry is the third New Zealand pace bowler to be injured on the tour after Lockie Ferguson suffered a calf strain on the opening day of the series in Perth then Trent Boult broke his hand against Mitchell Starc in Melbourne.
New Zealand had to scramble to get an XI together for the final Test as flu went through the camp ruling out Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls and Mitchell Santner. The uncapped Glenn Phillips was hastily flown across the Tasman and made his debut. He was surfing north of Auckland when summoned into the squad and almost missed the call from selector Gavin Larsen.
“I was way up north trying to find a couple of friends and I thought it was them calling. When I saw it was Gav… he said ‘we’ve got a bit of a situation and we need you on a plane in a couple of hours’,” Phillips said. “I pushed it really fine, traffic played ball and my brother-in-law left five minutes after me and only arrived half an hour later. Thank goodness, I got on where I did.”
Phillips hasn’t had much time to soak up the occasion but is determined to make the most of it. “You have to take the opportunities when they’re there,” he said. “You may never get a chance again so I’ll grab it with both hands and enjoy the moment for what it is. Gary [Stead] came over and said ‘hey mate you’re going to be batting five’. I was like ‘whoa this is happening’.”