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Devon Conway cleared of ‘obvious fracture’, but remains a doubt for third T20I

New Zealand were able to breathe a sigh of relief when it appeared Devon Conway had escaped a significant injury in Auckland, but they could still face a nervous wait ahead of the Test series against Australia with him and Rachin Ravindra, who missed the game with knee soreness, providing unwanted concerns.

Conway suffered the blow in the second over of the match when he took a sharp delivery from Adam Milne down the leg side. He was briefly treated on the field before deciding not to continue and Finn Allen took the gloves for the rest of the innings.

Conway went to hospital for x-rays and did not bat during New Zealand’s chase. He was cleared of “an obvious fracture to his left thumb” and will be further assessed on Saturday ahead of the final T20I, but there is a short turnaround to the first Test in Wellington on February 29 so caution will likely be the watchword.

He was padded up in the dugout during the closing stages but with the home side so far adrift there was no point in risking him. “All I know it was pretty swollen and it wasn’t worth going out there at that point of time,” Glenn Phillips said.

Phillips acknowledged Conway’s absence was a blow to New Zealand’s hopes of chasing 175 to level the series but did not believe it was decisive as they folded for 102.

“At the end of the day we were four down for not much and who knows Devon could have been one of those wickets,” he said. “But obviously he’s an integral part of our batting line up and he always gives a lot of confidence to the guys that are behind him. It was a big loss but at the end of the day wickets fell regardless.”

However, Adam Zampa felt Conway not being there played a big part in shaping the second innings with Australia’s quicks reducing New Zealand to 27 for 3 in the powerplay and a long tail was later exposed.

“Reckon potentially Conway is a big out for them in that situation,” he said. “That was almost the perfect start of us. Unfortunately for him, hope his thumbs alright, [but] he’s the kind of guy who can bat through so that made it a lot harder for New Zealand.”

Conway’s absence meant that New Zealand were without their two leading scorers from the opening match in Wellington with Ravindra having been left out after experiencing pain in his left knee.

“He will be treated and monitored over the coming days before a decision is made on his availability for the third T20I,” New Zealand Cricket said.

Ravindra hit 68 off 35 balls, his maiden T20I half-century, on Wednesday having overcome a difficult start where he was 14 off 16. In the recent Test series against South Africa he turned his maiden hundred into 240 and will be inked in for a middle-order berth against Australia.

Conway, meanwhile, is due to open the batting with Tom Latham and is a crucial cog in the line-up. He made a welcome return to form in the first T20I when he struck 63 off 46 balls – his first international half century in 22 innings across formats.

Will Young, who replaced Ravindra for Friday’s T20I, is the reserve batter in the Test squad and can cover a variety of positions. He came into side against South Africa in Hamilton as a middle-order replacement for Daryl Mitchell but can also opening the batting. Conway does not keep in the Test side with that role belonging to Tom Blundell.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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