Two teams struggling for results in Test matches, lock horns starting Tuesday as New Zealand host West Indies in the first of a three-match series in Dunedin.
The last time New Zealand were involved in their home tour, they narrowly missed out on taking the series against formidable England. This time around, however, the Kiwis will start as the favourites against a West Indies side still trying to sort out the difference between playing in the limited-overs to the Tests.
For New Zealand it is all about gaining some confidence ahead of what will no doubt be a sterner test when India come to visit next year. "It has been a lean period in terms of results albeit the cricket we have played is starting to improve but we need to start putting some results on that," Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum said.
Batting is the concern for both sides going into the Test series, with neither looking particularly good in the previous matches. The West Indies looked uninterested against India in the two-match series recently, which saw Sachin Tendulkar bid goodbye to cricket.
While the bowlers did not fare exceedingly well, barring Shane Shillingford, the batsmen were extremely poor on pitched which hardly had too many demons in them. Darren Sammy and co. will now face a completely different set of pitches, and their adaptability will be put into serious question.
The Kiwis have not fared too well either with the bat, with McCullum himself admitting he had issues he needed to work on after a lean run, which has seen the skipper not breach the 50-run mark in any format since the third Test against England in March.
"I guess you couple that with a slight injury and you start to have some pretty dark thoughts," McCullum said of his recent form. "But when I took over this job I had some really big visions for this team and how I fitted into that, and that certainly hasn't changed.
"Just because you go through a few low scores or a few tough times doesn't mean you should change your goals. And I'm still very determined to lead this team strongly from the front."
Team news: New Zealand will be without dependable batsman Kane Williamson, who has been ruled out with a thumb injury, suffered in the series in Bangladesh. That means a chance for Aaron Redmond after a sizeable hiatus of five years.
"It was pretty close, it was a tough decision, but in the end it was just a touch too early for Kane," McCullum said. "But Aaron has been in such good form and knows these conditions well. We thought he'd be the better option in this Test rather than force Kane back.
"He batted yesterday [Monday] in the nets and didn't feel a great deal of discomfort , but with then doing some fielding then going back into the nets it stiffened up. He probably could have played, but in the grand scheme of the season we have in front of us and how valuable he is to us we saw it as a safer option by allowing him to miss this one and give him another week to recover."
The Kiwis have also decided against playing four fast bowlers, meaning Ish Sodhi gets an opportunity to impress, with Doug Bracewell missing out.
"We entertained the thought of four seamers, the wicket looks a little bit green but we've picked a team for five days rather than the first day and Ish has been bowling quite nicely as well and with Kane out we really did need that spin option as well," McCullum added.
For the West Indies Chris Gayle is missing, giving Kirk Edwards a chance to impress at the top along with Kieran Powell, who played a couple of decent innings in India.
Where to Watch Live
The match is scheduled for a 3am IST start with live coverage on Neo Prime in India. There is no official live streaming option available in India. You can also catch the action via live streaming in the U.S. by clicking HERE.
Expected lineups: New Zealand: Rutherford, Fulton, Redmond, Taylor, B. McCullum (capt), Anderson, Watling (wk), Sodhi, Southee, Wagner, Boult.
West Indies: Powell, Edwards, Bravo, Samuels, Chanderpaul, Deonarine, Ramdin, Sammy, Shillingford, Best, Gabriel.