Little will change about New Zealand's selection thinking for the first test against Pakistan, despite losing the opening day of the international season to rain at Hagley Oval yesterday.

Neither side named their XI for the test yesterday and batting coach Craig McMillan pointed out, with decent weather in the coming days, little playing time will be lost.

Play starts at 10.30am today, with 98 overs scheduled for the day. Given a good run of weather - and all predictions say rain should have stopped in Christchurch by around 4am today and will steadily improve - McMillan said there will still be plenty of time to win the match.

''There's still a lot of time left in this game. I don't think much has changed (about New Zealand's strategy), but there's still some discussions in the morning," he said.


Nothing is surer than the toss-winning captain will field. The green, damp conditions are tailormade for good quality seam bowling.

But Cantabrian McMillan has a hunch it won't be an advantage that will disappear quickly and therefore give the team bowling first an undue advantage.

''The first session (today) is going to be very challenging. Hopefully there's enough movement for a couple of days so you're not dependent on whoever wins the toss (having) quite a big advantage. There's going to be enough for both sides' first innings'."

On Tuesday, New Zealand coach Mike Hesson declared legspinner Todd Astle would be in the XI. The effects of yesterday's rain might suggest that needs a rethink, but McMillan disagreed.

''He certainly comes into play. Todd's picked up a lot of wickets for Canterbury. Yasir Shah is a key ingredient for Pakistan, and they'll certainly come into calculations."

It would be conceivable New Zealand's confidence took a jolt in India, where they were well beaten in all three tests and now have lost their last four. But now they're home, a bullish McMillan figures his players will bounce back.

''Just the fact you're home, sleeping in your own bed, that gives you an air of confidence.
''These are conditions we've been in a lot over the last couple of years, and had to bat first on a number of pitches which look very similar to that one out there," McMillan said, gesturing to the pitch.

''It's nothing new to us but we have to get things right against a very good Pakistan seam attack."


Pakistan could conceivably pick three left arm seamers, in the slippery Wahab Riaz, quality operator Mohammad Amir and the steady Rahat Ali.

Coping with that is all about alignment for the batsmen, said McMillan, and New Zealand had done plenty of that in the nets.

Having two left armers of their own in Trent Boult and Neil Wagner had helped in preparations too.

However credit is due the tourists.

''It's a well balanced attack. All these bowlers pose different questions we are going to have to answer. But we're confident in our setup, we've done the work, done it before and know what to expect," McMillan added.