New Zealand news: Matt Henry reflects on incredible return to Test cricket

Matt Henry New Zealand

Matt Henry made his return to the New Zealand Test team with an incredible career-best haul of 7 for 23 against South Africa on Thursday 17 February 2022.

New Zealand bowled South Africa out for just 95 on day one of their first Test at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

Henry described returning to Test cricket at his provincial home ground as a surreal experience.

He said that he has always tried to stay focused on his own game as he waits for opportunities in a New Zealand set-up blessed with an array of quicks.

Henry said that there was still work to do in the Test, but they were thrilled with their day one position as they reached 116 for 3 by stumps to hold a 21-run lead.

“Obviously today’s been a great day for us,” Henry said after play.

“It’s not always easy,” he said of the long gaps between Tests.

“You try not to focus too much on those external things you cannot control and make sure I’m still in that mindset of trying to get better every time you get that opportunity to play for New Zealand.”

New Zealand skipper Tom Latham had backed his bowlers to do a number on the tourists on a green and slightly damp pitch in Christchurch.

Henry started the rout when he had Elgar caught at third slip with a ball that nipped away.

Putting a side in to bat in Test cricket can be a gamble but Latham’s boldness was rewarded as the Proteas capitulated.

The pitch dried out by the afternoon, visibly changing colour and New Zealand found batting much easier.

New Zealand faced 39 overs in the final session, losing Will Young for eight when he nicked off to Marco Jansen.

Latham, who had a life on nine when Jansen put him down in the gully, progressed to 15 before he was castled bowled by Duanne Olivier.

Olivier then thought he had Nicholls for five, but it was dropped at third slip, one of six drops by the Proteas, and the batters responded by cracking boundaries off the next two deliveries.

Just before stumps, snared a second wicket when Devon Conway dragged on to depart for 36.