The Black Caps have won a famous away win of the test series – and it could be the start of a series of test victories.
An outstanding 123 run victory over Pakistan in the third test gave the Black Caps a 2-1 win in the series – their first away win in the Pakistan test series since the summer of 69.
When Bryan Adams was eradicated, nothing can last forever. The victory was the Black Caps' victory in the 15th away series – the first in Asia since 1984 and only the second against a big nation since 1986.
In their first test run under coach Gary Stead, the Black Caps recovered from a second horror test defeat – and a poor position in third position – to beat Pakistan on the final day and fight for victory in the fourth innings for 156 demand
This is a remarkable achievement as Pakistan will be by far the most difficult challenge this season, but they can not celebrate too much – it's a quick turnaround for the Black Caps, with the first of two tests against Sri Lanka Saturday in the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Sri Lanka lost 3-0 at home to England and lost 211 runs, 57 runs and 42 runs. This is not like the Sri Lankan teams of Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews, who are solid batsmen, but elsewhere there is not much descent. In a nearly full-strength team, Mathews had to reach 128 to reach only 210-9 in a promising appearance against a New Zealand XI consisting of players not selected for the Plunket Shield service.
Even without the retired Rangana Herath there are still some useful spinners in Sri Lanka, led by Dilruwan Perera, but under the seamless conditions of New Zealand, the suture strike is unlikely to be up to standard.
The same is probably true of Bangladesh, where black caps will conduct three tests in February and March.
Bangladesh has undoubtedly dominated a poor West Indian team in a test one month ago and is likely to be a tougher challenge than Sri Lanka. Monimul Haque was in excellent form with the bat, but the spinners brought all 40 wickets into their test wins over the West Indies, and their promising spin options are unlikely to find so much to buy in New Zealand.
Therefore, the black caps must play on green gates throughout the summer, with their star-shaped seam attack should be far superior to the opposing hunters. However, this likely preference may result in limited participation of the bowling stars in the third test victory over Pakistan.
Ajaz Patel (3-42) and Will Somerville (3-52) broke through Pakistan in the fourth innings of the third test, with Patel performing his first test hero exploits with an outstanding performance while Somerville made a dream debut.
However, most of the summer is likely to have only one pivot point, with Mitchell Santner and Todd Astle returning.
Can Somerville and Patel repeat their efforts in New Zealand, or did they benefit from the favorable conditions in the United Arab Emirates? They should get a crack against Sri Lanka without probably Santner or Astle taking their test until the arrival of Bangladesh, but the handy hitting and versatile talent of the injured duo will make them meet the selectors while Ish Sodhi does can serve as a short format specialist to serve the home summer.
Despite a mixed appearance in the Pakistan series, there should be no major changes in the hitting team. The only batsman in the top six who scored no 50 goals in the test series was opener Jeet Raval, who, despite some promising launches and a decent test average (33.86), has yet to prove he is a stable long-term option.
Raval has not made 50 more for over a year, but his contributions – reaching 30 in each test – should keep him his place in the Sri Lanka series, as well as the fact that there is no obvious substitute with Hamish Rutherford Only the player really knocks on the door.
The black caps could also call a player like Will Young as a whipped lid in the squad. With the Wicketkeepers' titles not necessarily in the squad for test bouts, Tom Blundell could make way for Young, who has run New Zealand A's and could benefit from some time in the Black Caps environment.