England start a big year of Test cricket with a two-match series in New Zealand, with coach Brendon McCullum coming up against his home nation.
The former Black Caps skipper has led the England team to nine wins in their last 10 Tests and he is now seeking back-to-back away series victories, following their impressive whitewash win in Pakistan.
Although the hosts have slipped to fourth in the world rankings, New Zealand haven't lost a Test series on home soil since 2016-17 and will pose a stiff test.
|What||New Zealand v England – First Test|
|Where||Bay Oval, Tauranga, NZ|
|When||01:00 - Thursday, 16th February to Monday, 20th February|
|How to watch||BT Sport 1|
|Odds||New Zealand 11/5, England 8/5, Draw 7/4|
Under McCullum and Ben Stokes, England have won three of their last four Test series' and have moved up to third – behind Australia and India – in the red-ball world rankings.
Their positive style of play, nicknamed 'Bazball', has been taken on by the players and the coach insists that they will continue in the same mindset.
England have a big summer ahead, with Australia on UK shores for The Ashes and the hosts are currently 6/5 to beat the Aussies and win back the urn.
A win over the Black Caps would certainly put the squad in a positive frame of mind ahead of the summer Ashes series and it would signify England's first win in New Zealand since 2008.
As well as Kiwi McCullum, it will be also be a special tour for skipper Stokes, who was born in Christchurch and lived in New Zealand until the age of 12.
Stokes has been inspired with his captaincy and the 31-year-old, who is 10/11 to win the toss in the first Test, is up to fourth in the Test all-rounder rankings.
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New Zealand fully deserved their tag as World Test Championship winners in 2021, beating India in the final in England.
Since then, the likes of Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme and BJ Watling have retired from Test cricket and Black Caps selectors have been looking for long-term replacements.
That has led to some surprise five-day results, including drawn home series' with Bangladesh and South Africa at the start of 2022.
They followed that up with a 3-0 defeat in England, although there were much better signs in their recent two-match series in Pakistan – where both matches finished in draws.
Three batters scored centuries across the two Tests – skipper Kane Williamson and opening duo Tom Latham and Devon Conway. New Zealand are 1/1 to have a 1st innings lead in the first Test.
New Zealand have been handed a major boost with the news that pace bowler Kyle Jamieson is fit to return to the squad.
The paceman has been missing since June because of a back injury but Jamieson, ranked the eighth best Test bowler in the world, is likely to be named in the XI to face England.
Both teams have seen their preparations impacted by a nearby cyclone, with the squads having to spend more time training indoors than they would have liked.
The first clash is a day-night affair and the weather could play a part, with Thursday and Friday (days one and two) the most likely to be affected.
The pink-ball and evening conditions could make things tricky for the two batting line-ups and the outcome of the toss could have an impact
England's selectors may decide to select Ollie Robinson in their bowling attack, after his previous success with the pink ball.
The 29-year-old seemed to relish bowling in the day-night conditions, taking 12 wickets in three matches in Australia last year when bowling with the pink Kookaburra ball.
England, who have revealed that they have a fully-fit squad to select from for the first Test, will want to forget their last experience of a day-night Test in New Zealand. On that occasion the tourists slipped to defeat in Auckland, having being bowled out for just 58 runs.