New Zealand Test team © AFP
New Zealand Test team © AFP

An interesting contest awaits cricket lovers across the globe as New Zealand take on Australia for a three-Test series after a span of four years. Apart from the expectation of higher quotient of entertaining cricket that 2011 brought to the viewers, the series is also about the experimental day and night Test in the series decider. To be played with a pink Kookaburra ball, the Test has already become the talking point — but the series is no less exciting. The last series, a 1-1 draw, was a nail-biting affair. As the teams are clashing again after the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup final that went Australia’s way, this is all set to be one of the memorable series for both sides. Before the series starts, let us look at the key clashes that can be expected. Australia vs New Zealand , Live Score, 1st Test match, Australia vs New Zealand, 2015

David Warner vs Tim Southee: One of the most impactful new ball bowlers of current time, Southee has the unique ability to swing the ball in both ways. Warner, on the other hand, has emerged over the years as one of the most trusted openers for his side. While New Zealand will like to restrict Warner from settling down and executing a good innings, Australia would look forward for a stable start. All in all, a great contest is on the cards!

Brendon McCullum vs Mitchell Starc: Skipper McCullum is one of the most praised batsmen of modern era. The latest faceoff between Australia and New Zealand were the two 50-over matches in the World Cup. In the first low-scoring one, McCullum bludgeoned his way to fifty off just 24 deliveries, hitting 7 fours and 3 sixes. But the next match saw him give away his wicket to Player of the Tournament Starc for a duck as the Black Caps lost their way to lift the World Cup. McCullum is not someone to forget that easily and would surely try to leave his mark with his performance. Will he succeed or will Starc and his eerie bounces win?

Steven Smith vs Trent Boult: Smith has been one of the most improved cricketers in recent past. The Australian skipper has undergone changes, and the new-looking Smith is one of the most flamboyant and dependable batsmen in world cricket. After his inspirational 143 off 252 balls in the fifth Test of Ashes 2015 that led his side to an innings win, he is expected to continue it to the epic battle. The one who can stop him from doing so can be Boult, who stunned the Aussies in the World Cup league match.

Ross Taylor vs Nathan Lyon: The bowler who took a first ball wicket on his Test debut is sure to turn things around for his side once given a chance. Lyon’s 5 wickets against Sri Lanka on Test debut established him as an off-spinner who can help Australia in times of need. Taylor, over years, has played several knocks to help his country come victorious. In his last Test encounter against England, he scored 130 in 4 innings, and is expected to better that performance. He is capable of doing much more. The ultimate battle between the famous slog-sweeps and lofted flicks of Taylor and Lyon’s off-breaks will be interesting to watch.

 Kane Williamson vs Mitchell Johnson: Considered as one of the most talented batsmen produced by New Zealand in recent past, Williamson graces the No. 3 spot in a balanced New Zealand line-up. While he is one young talent, he might find it difficult to face the experience that Johnson’s spells reflect.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)