New Zealand have recalled Cory Jane following his recovery from a serious knee injury for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup clash against Australia in Dunedin.
Jane is set to start outside him while Thrush, who has been a constant member of the All Blacks squad in the absence of the injured Luke Romano, will appear in his fourth Test with Brodie Retallick dropping back to the reserves.
Coach Steve Hansen said: "It's great to have Cory Jane back. He has been a world-class performer and we are looking forward to seeing him back in the black jersey.
"It's also exciting to have Ben Smith getting his first start at centre for the season."
The All Blacks have already retained the Bledisloe Cup and, while Australia have endured a disheartening season, Hansen expects a tough battle.
"This is a challenge this team needs and will help define the progress we are making," he said.
"If we don't attempt to improve our performance from our last outing, we are vulnerable to being overtaken."
New Zealand starting XV: I Dagg; C Jane, B Smith, M Nonu, J Savea; A Cruden, A Smith; K Read, R McCaw (capt), L Messam, S Whitelock, J Thrush; C Faumuina, K Mealamu, T Woodcock.
Reserves: D Coles, W Crockett, B Franks, B Retallick, S Cane, T Kerr-Barlow, B Barrett, T Taylor.