Pakistan cricket
Pakistan have played some good Test cricket of late.Reuters

New Zealand and Pakistan cricketers might still be feeling some aftershocks of the huge earthquake in Christchurch, which struck on Monday morning. But the scheduled first Test match between New Zealand and Pakistan in Christchurch will go ahead as planned. New Zealand are gearing to host Pakistan for a two-match Test series, which starts on Thursday.

New Zealand might have lost against India in their last Test series, but the Black Caps are a different team altogether when they play in their own backyard. They will be keen to take advantage of the home conditions when they come up against the second-ranked Test team, Pakistan, who should also be a confident unit, having played some good Test cricket of late.

New Zealand have made some big changes in the team to face Pakistan. Opener Martin Guptill has been dropped from the squad, along with Luke Ronhci. The NZ selectors have given a chance to consistent domestic cricketers like Todd Astle, Jeet Raval and Colin de Grandhomme. It remains to be seen if they can make their chances count against Pakistan.

The pitches in New Zealand have always assisted the seamers, who have troubled batsmen in the past. It is going to be a testing time for both the teams, with New Zealand and Pakistan having some good bowlers in the line-up.

New Zealand bowlers like Tim Southee and Matt Henry are going to be the instrumental players for the Black Caps in the series. Pakistan have the batsmen to counter such bowling with their incredible skills. Their batting looks formidable with Azhar Ali and Babar Azam in good form. Add the experience of Younis Khan and skipper Misbah-ul Haq, and an interesting battle is on the cards.

Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz will lead their bowling line-up against New Zealand, and the former could be dangerous in New Zealand with his ball-swinging ability.

New Zealand vs Pakistan 1st Test

Date: November 17-21

Venue: Hagley Oval, Christchurch

Time: 10:30 local time (9:30 pm GMT, 3am IST, 2:30 Pakistan time)

New Zealand vs Pakistan 2nd Test

Date: November 25-29

Venue: Seddon park, Hamilton

Time: 10:30 local time (9:30 pm GMT, 3am IST, 2:30 Pakistan time)