Australia have recalled paceman Jackson Bird for the first Test against New Zealand starting in Wellington on Friday as both sides revealed their line-ups on the eve of the match.
Bird, whose last Test was in the 2013 Ashes series, comes in for the injured James Pattinson. New Zealand named a predictable line-up in an injury-enforced selection reshuffle.
Henry Nicholls will make his debut with Ross Taylor out with a side strain, and Mark Craig gets a start as the sole spinner in place of injured Mitchell Santner.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, heading into his milestone 100th Test, predicted the green-topped wicket meant the side winning the toss would bowl first.
“With the forecast I’d imagine it will dry out a bit quicker than we’ve seen, but the first couple of days will be challenging,” he said.
Australian skipper Steve Smith, however, said he would wait until he sees the state of the pitch on the match morning before deciding.
Smith has Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle in his pace battery along with Bird and said Pattinson needs more time to recover following recent injury concerns.
“The selectors aren’t 100 percent sure whether he (Pattinson) would get through this first Test match so that decision was made,” Smith said.
Australia are looking to bounce back after losing the one-dayers 2-1 to New Zealand. If they win the two-Test series they will overtake India as the top-ranked side in the world.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.
Australia: Joe Burns, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (captain), Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.