Dunedin: Five of Brendan Nash's family will be in Dunedin this week hoping they will be watching the West Indies batsman appear in his maiden Test for his adopted team. Nash was born in Western Australia, grew up in Queensland and played for the state before leaving for the Caribbean in 2007.
The problems at the top of the New Zealand order will need to correct themselves if the hosts are to overcome West Indies in the two-Test series starting in Dunedin on Thursday. New Zealand have dominated recent encounters with the visitors, but this time the batting concerns will make it a difficult record to maintain, especially when their opponents carry Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
West Indies, who drew their only warm-up match against Auckland, and are aiming for their first series win in New Zealand for 12 years, were hoping to get more practice and spend time acclimatising to conditions. However, the squad had to make do with a two-hour indoor session at the High Performance Centre.
The rain should freshen up the University Oval pitch, not an encouraging sign for batsmen on either side. In the previous match on the ground, a four-day State Championship encounter between Otago and Northern Districts, the highest total was 277.
The one previous international held at the ground was the Test between New Zealand and Bangladesh earlier this year, which the hosts won by nine wickets.
|New Zealand||West Indies|
|Coach||Andy Moles||John Dyson|
|Key Players||Daniel Vettori, Iain O'Brien, McCullum||Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan|
Gillespie can operate over 140kph while Iain O'Brien has been in form recently and Franklin offers left-arm variation. The captain Daniel Vettori might also be dangerous on a pitch that has offered little assistance to pace recently.
|The small boundaries at Dunedin will suit Chris Gayle, who will lead West Indies in the crucial two-match series|
|Weather||Cloudy with occasional rain showers. High 57F. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.|
|Pitch||The pitch in Dunedin was under intense scrutiny last year, when it was so dry in a first-class match that a huge crater the size of a foot was created. It has offered little help to the quick bowlers, but heavy rain over the past few days could change that.|
|ODDS||New Zealand - 5/4, West Indies - 5/4, Drawn - 1/2|
|Head to head||Total 35, WI 10, NZ 9, Drawn 16|