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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 November, 2004, 09:27 GMT
New Zealand suffer Franklin blow
First Test, Brisbane: Australia v New Zealand
Play starts Thursday 0000GMT

James Franklin
Losing Franklin at the last moment could prove a tough blow

New Zealand swing bowler James Franklin suffered a groin injury in the final build-up to the Brisbane Test to rule him out of the match against Australia.

Coach John Bracewell admitted: "He most certainly would have played."

He instead settled on Kyle Mills and Chris Martin as his fast-medium pair, with Ian Butler missing out.

For Australia, Darren Lehmann shrugged off a hamstring injury to take his place in the side with Brett Lee once again taking on 12th man duties.

Shane Warne also returns to the team after missing the final Test in India with a broken thumb.

The pair are the only changes to the team with Simon Katich and Nathan Hauritz dropping out.

As expected, New Zealand opted for the experience of Craig McMillan over the youthful promise of Hamish Marshall in the middle order.

Bracewell said: "There were a couple of tough decisions, mostly based around balance, the sort of strategy we want to take into the game, and experience.

Darren Lehmann
Lehmann has recently given evidence in the David Hookes trial

"McMillan's selection gives us someone who is battle hardened for a Test match of such magnitude.

"Hamish had just one Test innings in Bangladesh and, while he scored 50, was a bit out of touch in the one-day series."

Bracewell said Franklin's unexpected injury was an "influencing factor" in selecting Mills for his second Test over Butler.

He added: "We want to have at least one swing bowler in the match as Brisbane is one of the few places in Australia where you get the opportunity to swing the ball.

"We are expecting the ball to swing and after our initial look at the wicket it looks dry and is already showing cracks along the length of the pitch which indicates that it might take turn towards the end of the match."

Lehmann was put through his paces by coach John Buchanan in a fitness test at the Gabba and showed no ill affects.

And he will be happy to concentrate on cricket after giving evidence at commital proceedings against a hotel bouncer charged with the manslaughter of former Australia Test batsman David Hookes.

"For Darren, it will be nice to get back into the side, a side that loves him and his company," team-mate Matthew Hayden commented.

"We love the colour and character he brings to the side. He doesn't take the game too seriously. Maybe we all have to take a leaf out of that book."

Australia: Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting (capt), Damien Martyn, Darren Lehmann, Michael Clark, Adam Gilchrist (wkt), Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie, Michael Kasprowicz, Glenn McGrath. (12th man: Brett Lee)

New Zealand: Stephen Fleming (capt), Mark Richardson, Mathew Sinclair, Scott Styris, Nathan Astle, Craig McMillan, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum (wkt), Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Chris Martin. (12th man: Hamish Marshall)

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