It should be no surprise Tim Southee is chuffed not only to be back in the test fold but also in Hamilton, such have been his figures at Seddon Park since his first test at the ground seven years ago.

The Hamilton ground has been a source of considerable success for the seamer, who will almost certainly be back in the New Zealand XI for the second West Indies test starting tomorrow.

Southee missed the first test win in Wellington over the West Indies for the birth of his child, his place going to Matt Henry.

However, as industriously as Henry bowled second time around at the Basin Reserve, he is likely to make way for Southee, New Zealand's most successful active test bowler with 204 wickets in 57 tests at 31.55.


Boil that down and in six matches at Seddon Park, Southee has taken 34 wickets at just 19.55 apiece.

That included a man of the match-winning eight wickets in the dramatic win over Pakistan last season, including six for 80 in the first innings which put New Zealand in charge. Pakistan lost nine wickets in the final session of the test to tumble to a 138-run loss.

"It's usually a good cricket wicket," Southee, who turns 29 on Monday, said yesterday. "It does swing a little bit here but it's about adapting to the wicket and we've done that reasonably well at most grounds around New Zealand in the last few years.

"Usually there's a nice little breeze coming across the ground. Sometimes it's a humid day and it swings; it can be a blue sky and also swings.

"It can be random parts of the day where you have a little glimpse of swing and you have to make the most of it."

New Zealand's fast bowling stocks are in decent shape.

With left armers Neil Wagner and Trent Boult the incumbents, plus Southee and Henry, New Zealand also have Auckland speedster Lockie Ferguson and Central Districts quick Adam Milne, both of whom have had limited-overs chances but no five-day opportunities yet.

"The amount of depth we've got is a pleasing sign," Southee added.

The arrival of the baby ruled Southee out of the first test of the summer. There's only four — two against England at the end of the season — so players want to make the most of them.

Southee's no different.

"Ask any player and they'll still rank test cricket as the pinnacle.

"I guess you always want to play more but with the cards we've been dealt this year there's only four. Hopefully going forward we get to play more test cricket in New Zealand."

For those who look for omens, here's a bad one for the West Indies, who have lost their captain Jason Holder to a one-test suspension over a slow over rate in Wellington.

They have lost their only two tests in Hamilton, by solid margins in 1999 and 2013. Then again there's a solid expectation, from them and the New Zealand camp that they will, in racing parlance, be better for the run in Wellington, and up for a decent scrap.