By revealing their batting order to face Bangladesh, the Black Caps have provided the answer to who is set to replace Ross Taylor.
The Black Caps have tipped their hand as to who will be Ross Taylor's long-term test replacement at No 4.
Devon Conway will vacate his opening role to bat at No 3 in the first test against Bangladesh starting tomorrow at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, with Will Young joining Tom Latham at the top of the order in a sign of what is to follow when Taylor retires from tests at the end of the two-test series.
The 30-year-old Conway, who was thrust into the opening spot due to a middle-order logjam when he first became eligible to play test cricket for New Zealand, is then set to slide down to No 4 when Taylor departs, with Young remaining atop the order and captain Kane Williamson slotting back at first drop when he returns from injury, possibly as soon as February's two tests against South Africa.
It would be as close to a perfect replacement as you could get for New Zealand's retiring all-time top runscorer, with a top five of Young, Latham, Williamson, Conway and Henry Nicholls having few holes, and Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra similarly solid options to either fill the all-rounder role or slot higher in the order as required.
For now though, Taylor gets his swansong with two final tests at No 4, and an overwhelming likelihood of finishing his test career with two victories.
Bangladesh have never won in New Zealand, losing 32 matches across all formats. Their nine test defeats consist of five defeats by an innings, two by nine wickets, one by seven wickets and one by 121 runs.
Their recent form doesn't show any indicator of that drought ending either, coming off two test defeats to Pakistan, one by eight wickets and the other by an innings and eight runs, which included being routed for 87 in the first innings.
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Both of those tests were at home, where their spinners have much more joy than in New Zealand conditions, and Bangladesh will also be without their star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, leaving plenty riding on their inexperienced batting lineup and largely untested seamers.
The Black Caps' lineup is more settled, with their only decision to make tomorrow morning whether to play Ravindra or Mitchell. Despite Latham's warning that the Bay Oval wicket "looks a bit different to recent games" at the same venue, it would be a surprise if the Black Caps didn't hand Ravindra his first test at home, alongside the four-pronged seam attack that has produced unprecedented success in New Zealand conditions.
Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo said he was leaning towards playing three seamers and a spinner, and tried to spin his side's historic struggles in New Zealand into a positive.
"A lot of the young players who are coming on this tour haven't played test matches in New Zealand, they aren't scarred by past performances I suppose, so we've got to look at that as a positive. We know the record's not good in New Zealand, but we're pretty excited, it's a good opportunity for young players to test the waters in New Zealand and try and put on a good performance for us."
Try they might, but on one hand you have a team winless in New Zealand across 20 years, and on the other a Black Caps side unbeaten in 17 straight tests at home, and it becomes clear an upset of epic proportions is required to spoil Taylor's swansong.
Black Caps' likely XI
Tom Latham, Will Young, Devon Conway, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Rachin Ravindra, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.