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Home soil has sweet texture for Black Caps

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Tim Southee © AAP Image/Dave Hunt Tim Southee The Black Caps want to assure New Zealanders the zing hasn't gone out of their Test game.

They get a chance to prove it in the two-Test series against Pakistan, scheduled to start at Hagley Oval on Thursday.

Rain is forecast to dominate the first day but it should then clear, leaving ample time for a result given how lively damp surfaces have proven to be at the Christchurch venue.

Bowling on a green top would be welcomed by the New Zealand seam attack, who toiled with little reward in the recent Test and ODI series losses on Indian dustbowls.

New ball exponent Tim Southee says those who believe New Zealand's Test stocks have fallen this year should wait until the end of the month to pass judgement.

New Zealand have won seven of their last 11 Tests at home, a record spoiled by the 2-0 loss to Australia in February.

"We know what works in these conditions," Southee said.

"India is probably the polar opposite of what we're faced with here.

"We've been on two tough tours, not easy places to go as our history suggests."

Meanwhile, Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq says he is driven by a desire to lead his team back to the world No.1 ranking they held briefly this year.

Now second behind India, they want to continue their historic dominance of series in New Zealand, leading into a three-Test series in Australia.

"Always No.1 is a big motivation. You play any sport, you want to be the best," Misbah said.

"Every game and every series becomes important for us."

Possible teams:

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Jimmy Neesham, BJ Watling, Todd Astle, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafique, Younis Khan, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan.

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