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New Zealand rocked by 'disappointing' new blow as Aussies announce XI for first Test

Pat Cummins has revealed Australia's side to take on the Black Caps at the Basin Reserve.

Devon Conway in action for New Zealand against Australia.

Pat Cummins has revealed the Aussie XI for the first Test against New Zealand, who have been struck down by a fresh blow with wicket-keeper Devon Conway ruled out with a thumb injury. Conway suffered the injury in the T20 series against the Aussies last week, and will join paceman Kyle Jamieson on the sidelines.

New Zealand will also be without Neil Wagner after the Aussie nemesis announced his surprise retirement on Tuesday. The 37-year-old, who has had a number of epic battles with the likes of Steve Smith, called it quits when he was informed he wouldn't be picked for the match at the Basin Reserve.

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As for Conway, the keeper consulted specialists in a bid to be fit for the opening Test, which starts on Thursday. But he hasn't recovered in time for the crunch clash between first (NZ) and third (Australia) on the World Test Championship table.

"It's disappointing for Devon to be ruled out on the eve of an important match," Kiwi coach Gary Stead said on Wednesday. "He's a class player batting at the top of the order for us, and I know he was really looking forward to this series."

Devon Conway.
Devon Conway injured his thumb in the T20 series against Australia. (Getty Images)

The extent of Conway's thumb injury is still unclear, and the Black Caps are awaiting a final diagnosis. Stead had earlier said that Conway was having trouble holding a bat. "He's had a bat in his hand a few times. It's not comfortable at the moment," Stead said.

Kiwi skipper Tim Southee confirmed on Wednesday that Will Young will replace Conway, and young quick Will O'Rourke will also play after a nine-wicket haul on Test debut a fortnight ago. The final selection - a seam v spin battle between Scott Kuggeleijn and Mitchell Santner - will be decided just before the toss.

Neil Wagner announces retirement on eve of Australia Tests

The Kiwis were already understrength coming into the series, with first-choice quick Jamieson ruled out long-term with a stress fracture. The injuries come at the worst possible time for the Black Caps, who are hosting Australia in a Test series for the first time in eight years.

Stead made the brutal call to effectively end Wagner's international career last week after a lacklustre performance in the second Test against South Africa, telling him he wouldn't be in the playing XI against Australia. Wagner broke down in tears as he announced his retirement on Tuesday.

"It's been amazing to be a part of the Black Caps," the South African-born bowler said. "To be able to represent New Zealand and to have the black cap on my head has been some of the proudest moments of my life. To the New Zealand public and the fans, I can't thank you enough for the support for making me feel welcome, to make me feel like a Kiwi."

Stead said Wagner would leave the game "as one of the greats". He added: "Not many people get to leave the game in the way that Neil has. Neil's numbers are phenomenal, but I don't think we can underestimate his contributions to the team when the chips were down and he found a way to create a wicket. We will remember him for his lion-heartedness."

Australia name unchanged XI for first New Zealand Test

Meanwhile, Aussie captain Cummins has revealed an unchanged XI for the touring side that lost to the West Indies at the Gabba. Cummins will join Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon in a first-choice bowling attack for Australia, while Steve Smith will once again open the batting despite failing to impress against the Windies.

"No surprises and it's always nice to have a full contingent to pick from," Cummins said. "There's a real calmness around the group. Everyone's played enough Test cricket so it doesn't feel like we ever need to reinvent the wheel."

AUSTRALIA: Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

NEW ZEALAND: Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell, Glenn Phillips, Matt Henry, Mitch Santner/Scott Kuggeleijn, Tim Southee, Will O'Rourke.

with AAP

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