Australia are the current holders of the Trans-Tasman Trophy © Getty Images
Australia are the current holders of the Trans-Tasman Trophy © Getty Images

After a thrilling end to their three-match One-Day International (ODI) series, New Zealand and Australia will resume their rivalry in the Trans-Tasman Trophy 2015-16 starting Friday. The first Test of their three-match series will be played at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, a venue where Australia have not lost a Test in the last 26 years. It was in March 1990 that New Zealand last defeated their trans-Tasman rivals, and this time around their chances look pretty bright for more than one reason. New Zealand will not only enjoy home conditions, but Australia’s frailty against moving ball puts the hosts in command even before the contest begins.  FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: New Zealand vs Australia 2015-16, 1st Test at Wellington

The three-match Test series will be keenly followed, as it is the farewell affair for the enigmatic Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum. The young Kane Williamson is slated to take over the charge starting with the ICC World T20 2016, but all eyes will be on one of the most admired captains across the globe in his final Test series for New Zealand. ALSO READ – New Zealand vs Australia 2015-16: Brendon McCullum eager to win farewell series

McCullum will be achieving something special, as the first Test at Basin Reserve will be his 100th for New Zealand on the trot. Yes, McCullum has been that fit and in-form, and he has been indispensible for New Zealand cricket. The outgoing captain may not want his team to focus on his farewell series, but the fact that a win over Australia will give a fitting farewell to McCullum is a chance that New Zealand cannot let go.

New Zealand were slammed 0-2 when they toured Australia late last year. The pitches were flat, and Australia piled up runs in home conditions without many troubles. However, there was no dearth of thrill. Ross Taylor slammed a record score on a shocking pitch at WACA, Perth, and had it not been the controversial decision against Nathan Lyon, New Zealand would have returned home with a drawn series. New Zealand vs Australia 2015-16: Australia announce team for 1st Test, Jackson Bird in for James Pattinson

Moving away from McCullum, there is enough for both the teams to fight for. New Zealand will try and avenge their loss in the away series few months ago, while continuing to stamp their authority. On the other hand, ‘big brother’ Australia have been on a roll as far as Test cricket is concerned, and they will go all guns blazing in their bid to become the No. 1 Test side.

It must be remembered that Australia will become world No. 1 if they win this series, and a short two-Test affair gives them a fair chance to achieve the feat. On the other hand, New Zealand, who have not beaten Australia in a Test series since 1986, will more more than motivated to set the record straight and give McCullum a grand farewell.

In team news, Australia will continue to miss Mitchell Starc and New Zealand will be without the services of Ross Taylor. Henry Nicholls is expected to make his Test debut, whereas Australia will continue to trust their experienced men for this series. Australia have already named their playing XI, with Jackson Bird making a comeback after three years.

Squads:

New Zealand (for first Test): Brendon McCullum (c), BJ Watling (wk), Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Neil Wagner.

Australia: David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (c), Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.

Time: 10:30 local | 03:00 IST | 21:30 GMT

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)