Kane Williamson’s New Zealand know they need to re-adapt quickly to the nuances of day-night cricket to have any hope of winning a first series in Australia for more than 30 years when this week’s opening Test begins.
The tourists pad up for the first of a three-Test series in Perth with no warm-up games and in forecast 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) heat, before heading to Melbourne for the Boxing Day clash then Sydney.
They have momentum from last week’s 1-0 series win against England, but that came on slow and docile New Zealand wickets — a contrast to the expected much zippier track and pink ball under lights at Optus Stadium.
New Zealand last played a day-night Test nearly two years ago against England in Auckland, while the Australians are fresh from thrashing Pakistan by an innings and 48 runs under lights in Adelaide last week.
“The old day-night thing, eh. It’ll be interesting. It’s just another thing to adapt to, I suppose,” captain and run machine Williamson told reporters.
“Such is the international schedule — we fly out, have a little bit of training and are straight into another match.
“The perfect preparation? It’s always hard to know what that is.”
New Zealand received some good news with all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme fit after tearing an abdominal muscle in the first Test against England last month.
Injured bowling spearhead Trent Boult also missed the second Test against England but has recovered sufficiently from a side strain to amke the plane to Australia.
He shapes up as a potential match-winner on a Perth pitch expected to offer pace and bounce, along with fellow quick bowlers Tim Southee and Neil Wagner.
Their battle for supremacy with Australian fast bowling trio Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins could be crucial to the outcome.
Black Caps opener Tom Latham said the team was not scared of facing such a top-notch attack.