There was much fanfare around the announcement of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy back in May 2004. At simultaneous press conferences in Melbourne and Christchurch the boards of both countries set out their plans to compete for the trophy on an annual basis, strengthening the cricketing ties between the trans-Tasman neighbours. Walter Hadlee, then 88, was at the announcement in Christchurch, along with his son Dayle; Greg and Trevor Chappell attended in Melbourne. The New Zealand cricket chief executive of the time, Martin Snedden, declared: "I am confident that the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy will become as eagerly anticipated as other great annual sporting events such as the Bledisloe Cup series."
Well, that didn't quite happen, but plenty of memorable matches were nonetheless played under the Chappell-Hadlee name and the boards stuck to their plans to contest the trophy annually for the next six years. And then it was quietly shelved. At the 2011 World Cup in India, it was announced that since no other time had been found in the summer's schedule for a bilateral series, the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy would be on offer to the winner of the World Cup pool match between the two sides. After that it was forgotten, so much so that the boards neglected to even put the trophy up for grabs when they met at the 2013 Champions Trophy in England. They remembered again for their pool match at last year's World Cup, but it has now been nearly six years since the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy was contested in a series of its own.
At last, it is back. The two teams who competed in the World Cup final at the MCG last March get the chance for a bilateral one-day series, a three-match contest that precedes a series of two Tests. It all begins on Wednesday in Auckland, the venue of New Zealand's one-wicket win over Australia in that Chappell-Hadlee match last year, one of the most memorable games of the World Cup. Despite the short boundaries at Eden Park, swing was king, Australia managed only 151 and it wasn't far off being a winning score. Nearly a year on and with New Zealand's personnel largely the same and Australia's changed significantly, both sides are coming off series wins at home, Australia over India and New Zealand against Pakistan. The World Cup might not be up for grabs this time, but the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy gets a well-deserved return to centre stage.
(last five completed matches, most recent first) New Zealand: WWWLW Australia: LWWWW
In the spotlight
Brendon McCullum is now into the final month of his international career, and it is possible that he could finish by lifting both the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy and the Trans-Tasman Trophy as captain. His first task is to provide runs at the top of the order, and having missed the past month with a back injury his return in the final ODI against Pakistan did not exactly go to plan: he was caught hooking for a golden duck.
Usman Khawaja is Australia's most in-form batsman but the selectors have stuck to their existing pecking order and gone with Shaun Marsh for the first match. Marsh scored half-centuries in two of his three ODI innings against India last month, which has earned him the first chance in New Zealand, but Khawaja has produced such piles of runs in the past few months that one failure from Marsh might be enough for the selectors to make the change for the second game.
Legspinner Ish Sodhi has been added to the squad for this first match in Auckland, after the New Zealanders saw how much turn Pakistan's part-timer Azhar Ali extracted from the Eden Park surface on Sunday.
New Zealand (possible) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendon McCullum (capt.), 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Henry Nicholls, 5 Grant Elliott, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 Mitchell Santner/Ish Sodhi, 9 Adam Milne, 10 Matt Henry, 11 Trent Boult.
Australia confirmed their XI on match eve, with Shaun Marsh named to open the batting with David Warner in the absence of the injured Aaron Finch. That meant there was no place for Khawaja, who was added to the squad to cover for Finch, while fast bowler Scott Boland and legspinner Adam Zampa were the bowlers who missed out.
Australia 1 Shaun Marsh, 2 David Warner, 3 Steven Smith (capt.), 4 George Bailey, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 John Hastings, 10 Kane Richardson, 11 Josh Hazlewood.
Pitch and conditions
The drop-in pitch is usually good for batting at Eden Park, though there could be some swing in the air. The forecast is for a sunny day and a top temperature of 27C.
Stats and trivia
New Zealand have won their past four bilateral ODI series at home against any opposition
It has been so long since the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy has been contested outside of World Cups that only two Australians in the current squad - David Warner and Shaun Marsh - have experience in such series
New Zealand currently hold the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy after winning the World Cup group match in Auckland last year; it was not up for grabs in the World Cup final
New Zealand could field as many as eight men who played in the World Cup final (Ross Taylor and Tim Southee are injured, and Daniel Vettori has retired); Australia will have only five
"There's obviously going to be a few nerves tomorrow when you're playing in a big series and hopefully if we can settle early then we can resort back to that even temper that we've played with throughout this summer and last summer as well." New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum
"New Zealand are a very good one-day side; they have played particularly well here at home. I guess for us we've got quite a different side to the one who faced them in the World Cup final, so it is a big challenge for us but we're really looking forward to it." Australia captain Steven Smith