In seeking to win in Australia for the first time since 1985, New Zealand's pace attack will be spearheaded by Trent Boult, a man many consider to be their finest pace exponent since Richard Hadlee, the architect of that earlier victory. After recovering from stress hot spots in his back following this year's tour of England, Boult is fit and ready for his tilt at Australia's transitional batting line-up. He has learned a thing or two since his debut in the dramatic Hobart Test of 2011, and spoke to ESPNcricinfo about that memorable start and the looming contest with Steven Smith's team.
This is your third tour of Australia after 2009 and 2011. The first trip you did not play any of the ODIs and went home injured, then in 2011 you looked like being in reserve until Daniel Vettori was ruled out of the Hobart Test?
I was prepared to play but I wasn't really expected to with a pretty settled line-up. Unfortunately for Dan he got injured, fortunately for me I managed to get the opportunity to get that first cap. It was all go on the morning of that game, I think he did a fitness test, I wasn't in the team then I turned up to the ground and got a tap on the shoulder [from then coach John Wright], and before I knew it I was in the final XI. A very fond memory of mine.
You took four wickets in that game and a lot of observers remarked that you looked the part. Did you feel in control?
I can't really remember my first couple of spells. I remember my heart was racing and there were a lot of nerves as anyone can expect. But it was an ideal wicket for fast bowling, so I managed to put the ball in the right area and contribute to the team. It's still one of my fondest Test victories - it was pretty cool.
New Zealand haven't won many Test matches against Australia, so how did it impact on you to have that winning feeling first up? You must have wanted to get it back again and again?
Exactly that. I quickly realised how special a Test win was. It didn't get much more special than achieving one over here against the Australian side. It was a heck of an introduction to that level. I've played a fair bit of cricket since then and I just feel like I'm growing as a bowler and really enjoying being a part of it. A great opportunity to come over here this time, having tasted that victory first up, and the next thing is to taste winning a series over here.
What have you added to your repertoire since 2011?
I've definitely gained a lot more confidence, and you learn about your body, your bowling action and all those sorts of things. I've enjoyed the last couple of years, the chance to play all round the world and you've got to get used to certain conditions. But it's nice to have had that experience over here and away. Hopefully the bowling attack can continue what they've been doing over the last wee while.
Hobart in 2011 suited you, England earlier this year suited you. What do you think of the conditions you'll face this time?
Just looking at where we're going to be playing these Test matches, starting with the Gabba I think definitely suits our style of bowling. The majority of us are swing bowlers and tend to bowl that fuller length. In terms of the Gabba I don't think too much needs to change for us there.
Moving forward to the WACA it's obviously one of the best places to bowl for a fast bowler. So not much has to change in our opinion, if we can pitch the ball up and look to attack as much as we possibly can, as we have been doing over the last wee while, then I think it's going to be the recipe for our best success.
The Kookaburra ball can swing for a reasonable length of time, but there are also days when it will stop moving quite quickly. What is the Plan B when that happens?
Being a left-armer I like to use angles, come around the wicket and try to build pressure from there. But from what we're aware of definitely the Gabba offers good conditions for swing bowling. Hopefully it's not just going to be one or two overs, but we've definitely got plans in place for if the ball's not swinging.
New Zealand don't get to play many three-Test series.
It's very exciting. I think it's a bit of a reward for the good cricket we've been playing over the last wee while. The series in England was a great series but it would have been great to go into a third and final decider with one apiece. To get an opportunity for three Test matches against this Australian side is going to be fantastic. It's been 30 years since we had a series win over here, so there's no more motivation needed than that.
Australia have had a lot of retirements and there is new blood in the team, whereas New Zealand are quite settled. How much of an advantage is that?
I definitely think it's going to help, but by no means are we going to be taking anyone lightly. The Australian side has had some retirements and a few players coming in, they're in there for a reason. They're obviously good cricketers and they know their conditions well - we know whoever fills the spots are going to be up for it.
The pink ball Test in Adelaide may end up being the decisive match of the series. You've been quoted as saying that ball handles more like a white ball or hockey ball - how has it felt in the hand in Australia?
I don't remember calling it a hockey ball, but that's alright, we can go with that! It's been nice to have a couple more opportunities to have a bowl with it and in different conditions as well to how it reacted back home in New Zealand where it's a lot colder to how it reacted the other night in Canberra. But that's still a while away, the focus is to start the series well and get something good going at the Gabba. Move to the WACA and once the pink ball comes out after that Test I'll start thinking about it again.
The Prime Minister's XI game gave you a good look at Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns and Adam Voges, and you looked to be making life difficult for them with the ball swinging?
I'd played against Usman before but yes it was a good opportunity to play against the likes of those guys and get a feel for how they play. I'm sure they felt the same thing, getting to face our bowlers and have a good look, but they're good players and they know these conditions well, so it's definitely going to be a huge challenge. We're looking forward to setting into Brisbane, the next few days will breeze by and then we'll be into it.
Batsmen tend to take one of two approaches these days, either going after you and trying to minimise the area into which you can bowl, or sitting back and trying to wait out your spells. How do you deal with that contrast?
I'm happy either way. The more aggressive the batsman is coming at you, then the more opportunities arise to get him out in my opinion. Patience is a big part of my game, so if it is vice versa and they're looking to sit on me, by all means they can go for it. But if we can continue what we have been doing, it's proved pretty successful and nothing needs to change. That's what we'll be looking to do.
The relationship between bowlers and captain is critical, and New Zealand's bowlers seem to work pretty fruitfully with Brendon McCullum.
I can speak for everyone in terms of having a good relationship with Brendon. He's been fantastic for the team, he's got a great cricketing brain, everyone sees how aggressive he is as a captain and I think a lot of our success is due to his cricket. I've got a good relationship with him and we work together trying to think of plans to get each batsman out. He's been brilliant and I'm sure he'll carry on that way in this series.