The second Test between New Zealand and Pakistan starts from January 3 in Christchurch.
Mohammad Rizwan will continue to lead the Pakistan team in Babar Azam’s absence.
New Zealand bowlers eventually managed to break Pakistan batsmen’s brave resistance in the first Test on what was an unusually flat and uneventful pitch at the Bay Oval, but conditions will be more favourable for them in Christchurch.
The hosts will miss the services of left-arm paceman Neil Wagner, but skipper Kane Williamson is still confident of a series win especially with the way his team is performing in the longest format.
If New Zealand wins or draws the second Test, they will record their eighth straight series win at home.
On the other hand, Pakistan will be once again without their regular captain Babar Azam and have to fill the plenty of holes in their batting line-up, especially at the top.
With conditions likely to favour the bowlers, the second Test should end way before Day 5, and the Black Caps have to be favoured to romp to another comprehensive series win.
Head to head record
Matches played: 59 | New Zealand: 13 | Pakistan: 25 | Draw: 21 | Tied: 0
The pitch on offer at Hagley Oval will favour the pacers. The average first-innings score across seven Tests at this venue has been 280. The captain winning the toss is expected to bowl first.
New Zealand: Matt Henry has been called into the squad as a replacement for injured Wagner, and should be picked into the playing XI.
Probable XI: Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Trent Boult
Pakistan: With Babar still unavailable, the visitors can hand over a debut cap to 24-year-old Imran Butt, who scored 191 runs in three first-class games of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
Probable XI: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan (c, wk), Faheem Ashraf, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah
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