It didn't take long for hopes of a rare Black Caps series win over Australia to come crashing down.
The expectations of a first series win across the ditch since 1987 were warranted. This could be our greatest ever test side. Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson will end their careers as our two top run scorers in whites while Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner currently sit third, fourth and seventh respectively among our highest test wicket takers. BJ Watling is arguably our best wicket-keeper batsman while Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner have all excelled on a regular basis at the test level in the past 12 months. Opening batsman Jeet Raval was the only player to go into the first test in Perth with a question mark over his form, with debutant Lockie Ferguson expected to step in for the injured Boult having proven himself at the Cricket World Cup.
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So what happened? They lost the toss, had to bowl in high temperatures for a day and half before being exposed to a brilliant bowling attack with the pink ball under lights - one of the toughest tasks in the game - and lost the test inside four days. Guess what? Beating Australia in Australia is hard. Especially when the opening test is in the day-night format which the Black Caps haven't played in 21 months, while Australia's last pink-ball test before Perth was ... oh look, their last test against Pakistan in Adelaide at the start of the month.
As Kiwis league coach Daniel Anderson famously said after his side was dealt a heavy defeat at the hands of the Kangaroos, with their opponents coming straight off a tense State of Origin series: "It was an ambush."
The Black Caps didn't have a warm-up game to get used to the Australian conditions. Maybe it would have helped maybe it wouldn't have. Not much can prepare you to face Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. Before the last Ashes series in 2017, England had four warm-up games in Australia before the first test in Brisbane and still lost the opening test by 10 wickets.
The mammoth task remains the same for Williamson's men. Win two tests to secure the series. But if any New Zealand side is up to pulling off the seemingly impossible it's this current crop under the brilliant Williamson and coach Gary Stead.
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They're undefeated in their last seven test series, six of which were series victories, while in the coloured clothing they pulled off a remarkable semifinal win over India, when no one expected them to, before falling agonisingly close to winning the final at Lord's after the tied Super Over with hosts England.
The Black Caps excel with their backs against the wall. They'll go into the Boxing Day test having played a much-needed warm-up game, while the Aussies take a week off. The tide could turn very quickly at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.