In baseball language, Mitchell Starc's batting .1000 in New Zealand - or maybe that should be bowling.

The champion Australian quick has played just one match in New Zealand, the cliffhanging World Cup pool game of just 55.3 overs at Eden Park on a sun-drenched afternoon - it didn't last into the evening - in February 2015. He roared through the New Zealand middle and lower order taking career-best figures of six for 28 and pulled Australia within one wicket of what would have been a staggering win.

His first recollection of the game was "we lost", then: "it was probably one of the more exciting games of the World Cup. It's the only game I've played in New Zealand."

So while he's not a newbie in New Zealand conditions, as some of his team mates are, he's not far off it.


His record in ODI cricket is hugely impressive - 125 wickets from 63 one-dayers at 19.55, and make that 14 in five games against New Zealand at 12 apiece - and just as Australia cannot help but be weakened by the absence of David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith, so an Australia shorn of Starc, the fast bowling kingpin, would leave a substantial hole.

Starc reckons he's had his break, around the time of the Perth ODI against Pakistan earlier this month, and in any case you sense he'd rather keep rolling along.

"Time off helps the body, but doesn't help the bowling rhythm. I've had my week off, I'll get back into my work and keep contributing."

He admitted he needs to quickly adjust to smaller grounds, shorter boundaries and pitches which will likely offer a bit more in assistance for the faster bowlers than across the Tasman.

"The ball does swing a little bit more than Australia, and we're all excited to see the ball swing around," he said, most likely excluding the batsmen from that viewpoint.

Starc is backing the replacement top order batsmen, experienced operators Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh, to fill the roles of Warner and Smith in particular, capably.

No Brendon McCullum any more is "nice" he quipped, but he gave both opener Martin Guptill and captain Kane Williamson a rap when assessing New Zealand's batting threats.

"Williamson is their key, he can bat a long time and he's a class player. They've got guys in the middle who can hit a long ball and score quick runs. We spoke a lot about that in our team meeting, about executing the way we can."

A second withering performance tomorrow would be a decent way for Starc to celebrate his 27th birthday too.