After failing to win even a single match in the T20 series, West Indies would look to prove themselves as they take on New Zealand in the test series.
The visitors got some useful batting practice in the match against New Zealand A where Kraigg Brathwaite scored a double century, Darren Bravo scored a century, Shamarh Brooks and Jermaine Blackwood scored fifties each.
New Zealand has deployed a full-strength squad for the series with Kane Williamson and Trent Boult returning to action after being rested for the T20 series.
Windies have a lot of pace bowlers in Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel, and Keemo Paul along with skipper, Jason Holder.
The hosts have a few concerns as Colin de Grandhomme and Ajaz Patel have been ruled out due to a right foot and a left calf injury respectively. Wicket-keeper, BJ Watling also picked up a hamstring injury with Devon Conway most likely to replace him after being added to the list of reserves.
The visitors are ranked eighth in tests and will aim to improve that after a lackadaisical showing in the T20 series. Their batsmen need to dig in and spend long hours at the crease.
Pitch and Conditions
The last T20 did not see even a ball being bowled owing to persistent showers in Hamilton. It is a great pitch for the fast bowlers with a lot of bounce and movement on offer. The batsmen can dominate the proceedings after settling down in the middle. Scattered showers are predicted for the first day with sunny skies forecast for the next three days.
Probable Playing XI
New Zealand (NZ): Will Young, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Devon Conway, Tom Blundell, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Neil Wagner, Kyle Jamieson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee,
West Indies (WI): Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich, Jason Holder, Rahkeem Cornwall/ Roston Chase, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph
Kane Williamson vs Alzarri Joseph
The skipper returns to lead his side after a short break post the IPL. He averages nearly 51 in Test cricket. He is a quality batsman against spin bowling. Williamson is a street-smart player with classy strokeplay and gritty temperament along with exceptional footwork. Getting his wicket would be crucial as he forms the backbone of New Zealand's batting.
Joseph is a pacer with a cool head. He is blessed with an easy action and can extract bounce with his towering height. For one who idolizes the legendary, Dale Steyn, Joseph can bowl venomous deliveries to dismiss even the best batsmen on his day.
Trent Boult vs Kraigg Brathwaite
Brathwaite has a simple batting technique that is soothing to the eyes. He can play like a monk with his immense focus and strong concentration. He seldom plays sway from the body and possesses a water-tight technique with a solid defense. Windies would rely on him to play a big knock as he has the game to stay for a long time.
Boult will return to action after a very successful IPL. He is a wicket-taking bowler who can swing the ball both ways. He is currently the spearhead of the bowling attack and forms a deadly combination with Tim Southee. He still has plenty of years left in his tank if he maintains his fitness and avoids getting injured.
The hosts will look to continue their domination. A series win here would help them to displace England from the third spot of the World Test Championship (WTC) table. Windies have their task cut out and have to fight hard if they want to win at least one match.
Cricwizz predicts New Zealand to win the match