Will O’Rourke has been ruled out of the second Test match against Australia, but there will be no fairytale comeback for Neil Wagner.

Subscribe to the Wisden Cricket YouTube channel for post-match analysis, player interviews, and much more.

On his Test debut, against South Africa at Mount Maunganui, Will O’Rourke claimed 5-34 and 4-59 to become the first New Zealand bowler to take nine wickets on maiden appearance in the format. He helped New Zealand win the game and clinch their first ever Test series win against South Africa.

Against Australia at Wellington, O’Rourke claimed 2-87 in the first innings, but pulled out of his delivery stride during an over in the second and left the ground. Scans revealed a left hamstring strain, and O’Rourke was ruled out of the second Test of the two-match series.

Neil Wagner, the fifth-highest wicket-taker in Test matches for New Zealand, had been left out of the XI for the first Test. He immediately announced his retirement, though he fielded as a substitute during the match.

With O’Rourke injured and Trent Boult unavailable, there were speculations about New Zealand recalling Wagner for the second Test, to begin at Christchurch on March 8.

At the post-match press conference, New Zealand captain Tim Southee did not rule out a comeback for Wagner: “[Wagner’s] had a great reception here over the last week where he got a couple of moments on the field and obviously he’s been a fan favourite for a long time.”

Australia captain Pat Cummins spoke on the subject. “If he’s your next-best bowler that you think is going to perform, then go for it. I’ve faced him before. It’d be good to see. He’s high energy. It’s been good fun chatting to him each morning out here, so see how he goes.”

In the end, however, New Zealand named Ben Sears as replacement once O’Rourke was ruled out.

A 26-year-old right-arm medium-fast bowler, Sears plays for Wellington in the Plunket Shield. His 19 first-class matches have fetched him 58 wickets at 27.03 apiece.

Sears has also played 13 T20Is for New Zealand, picking up 16 wickets and going at 7.82 an over. He played twice against Australia last month, returning 6-0-50-3.