New Zealand will host Australia in the two match Test Series starting this Friday. The first test match is scheduled for Feb. 12 – 16 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, kicking off at 10:30 AM local time and 9:30 PM GMT.

The hosts thumped Australia in the One-Day series 2-1 to retain the Chappell-Hadlee trophy. New Zealand will look forward to using the home advantage in their favour to deny Australia from gaining the top spot in test rankings. Daniel Brettig of ESPN.cricinfo.com writes that the “lure” of the top spot will excite captain Steve Smith which is “currently deemed prestigious enough for the game”.

Steve Smith commented before the match, “We haven’t been good enough with the bat on wickets that have been doing a bit in the last year or so. The wicket here looks like it might do a bit so we’ve got a bit to prove and we’ve got to adapt accordingly, a lot better than we have in recent times.”

Australian bowling attack will be without Mitch Starc who is still recovering from his injuries. They will go with Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood to lead the attack.

The batsmen need to step up as Usman Khawaja gets a chance to prove his mettle as a test player after a terrific run in the shorter formats of the game.

The Basin Reserve wicket looks green and the turf is expected to help Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Henry Nicholls will be making his test match debut replacing injured Ross Taylor.

Brendon McCullum is playing his last test series and will be looking for a fairytale finish to his career. He said, “I’m looking forward to finishing these next two Test matches. It’s going to be a great series, two very evenly matched teams I think, and what better way to go out?”

Form guide (Last five test results)

New Zealand: WWLDL
Australia: DWWWD

New Zealand possible XI: Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, BJ Watling (wk), Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Trent Boult

Australia possible XI: David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (capt), Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird

Match Schedule

New Zealand vs Australia, 1st Test Match

Date: Friday 12 – Tuesday 16, February, 2016

Time: 10:30 PM local time, 9:30 PM GMT

Venue: Basin Reserve, Wellington

Live Stream: Star Sports