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Proteas nemesis Matt Henry to keep his Black Caps place with Trent Boult still out for second Test

New Zealand's Matt Henry celebrates the wicket of Dean Elgar during play on day two of the first Test. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/www.photosport.nz/BackpagePix

New Zealand's Matt Henry celebrates the wicket of Dean Elgar during play on day two of the first Test. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/www.photosport.nz/BackpagePix

Published Feb 21, 2022

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Cape Town - New Zealand's destroyer-in-chief Matt Henry will be back in the Black Caps starting XI for the second Test against the Proteas at Hagley Oval on Friday.

Henry enjoyed the Test of his life last week when he claimed a career-best 7/23 in the first innings as part of a nine-wicket match haul. And if that wasn't enough, the local Canterbury fast bowler became the first No 11 in the history of Test cricket to take seven wicket haul and then follow it up with a half-century.

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Despite these marvelous achievements, Henry was still expected to lose his place for the second Test as he was only filling in for Trent Boult, who was on paternity leave and due back at work this week.

New Zealand Cricket, though, have ruled out Boult of the second Test due to a lack of bowling in recent months.

"[He] is not in a position to be available with his loads and where he's at," Black Caps coach Gary Stead said. "Since his wife has been having the baby he's missed out on a lot of opportunities to play cricket and bowl. We just felt the risk of him playing was far too great at the moment."

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Although Henry made his Test debut back in 2015 already, he has only played 15 Tests during this seven year period with the majority of them not being in succession. To now play consecutive Tests with the opportunity of closing out the Black Caps' first ever Test series win over the Proteas will certainly be appreciated by the 30-year-old seam bowler.

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"He's always been a good bowler and sometimes you need that opportunity to strike and make the most it," Stead said.

"He bowled beautifully throughout the Test but I thought the whole bowling unit bowled really well together and thought that was one of the reasons we were so convincing."

New Zealand have retained an unchanged 15-player squad for the second Test which also means no place for a specialist spinner.

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