Forty-five days ago, the Black Caps ended one of their worst test tours with a third straight thrashing in Australia. Now, on their return to the format, they have to face possibly the best test side in over a decade.
India come into the series on the back of seven successive test victories, all by massive margins, to give them a perfect record in the World Test Championship, and a firm grip on the No 1 spot in the world rankings.
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Despite the daunting challenge, the Black Caps should be more competitive in the upcoming two tests than they were in Australia, thanks to improved health – the return of Trent Boult and Kane Williamson, specifically – and the benefits of playing in their home conditions, where they have lost just one of their last 18 tests.
However, none of those matches were against a team as good as this Indian side. Victories over the West Indies (by 318 and 257 runs), South Africa (by 203 runs, an innings and 137 runs, and an innings and 202 runs) and Bangladesh (by an innings and 130 runs, and an innings and 46 runs) have seen India produce the tied-longest winning streak since Australia amassed 16 wins on the trot between 2005 and 2008.
To beat India, the Black Caps are going to have to be at their very best, something they're well aware of, while Indian captain Virat Kohli had no problem acknowledging his side's confidence in their abilities.
"We've prepared in a manner where our fitness levels and concentration levels are such that we can compete against anyone, anywhere in the world, and that's the kind of confidence we are going to carry into this series."
Playing in Wellington, where swing is often on offer early and the wicket usually carries some grass, could mean the toss carries more importance than usual, and Kohli knows that his side will be made to work harder than in their previous victories in India.
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"Playing at home they'll have more control over what they do, so they will understand their plans much better.
"They're very intense, they're obviously very fit guys who can keep going all day and test your patience. They're really skilled with what they do as bowlers and batsmen and obviously brilliant fielders as well, so they don't give you a lot within the game to bank on or pounce on. So you need to be wary of the chances that come your way and be focused enough to capitalise on those."
Kohli also didn't want to read much into the Black Caps' abysmal Australian tour – pointing to the recent form fluctuations on their tour thus far as an indicator of how teams can rapidly bounce back at the highest level.
"Having been in those situations myself I can tell you it's not that alarming for any team – things can turn around pretty quickly. You saw in the ODI series, we lost 3-0 but we didn't look like that before we started the series – if you gain momentum at the right time you can play some very good cricket."
The Black Caps will be without star seamer Neil Wagner for the first test, with the 33-year-old and wife Lana awaiting the arrival of their first child. Matt Henry has been called into the squad as cover, with Kyle Jamieson set to make his debut.