New Zealand play their first limited overs tri-series match in Australia for 11 years when they meet the hosts tonight at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Can the magic of yesteryear be revived?

New Zealand accepted their last invitation to the 50-over version of such contests in the summer of 2006-07, again post-Ashes, with England the third opponent. Bilateral series have dominated the landscape since.

In their 1980s heyday those tri-series - under various cigarette, alcohol and bank sponsorship banners - were a highlight of the viewing summer.


The batting order was as follows:

1. Wander in from playing backyard cricket outside.

2. Hope mum or dad had popped down the road to collect fish 'n' chips.

3. Levitate with anticipation as the Channel Nine theme music began.

4. Watch the shadowy batsman - who looked vaguely like Dean Jones - belt his lofted straight drive towards the camera.

5. Check whether Richie Benaud had donned the cream, the bone, the white, the off-white, the ivory or the beige jacket for the intro.

6. Scoff your tea in front of the telly.

7. Pray Bill Lawry and Tony Greig would spar as the commentary openers.


8. Cross fingers New Zealand could get 50 inside 15 overs for a "healthy start".

9. Play a spot of hallway cricket between overs 16 and 35.

10. Hunt for some chocolate in the secret stash up in the cupboard.

11. Convince your parents of the value in staying up until the end, particularly the early morning finishes in Perth.

That was one cracking starting XI.

Hopefully the 2018 series resurrects that hype, albeit over 40 overs with our abridged contemporary attention spans.

When the players emerge in the shadow of the SCG's Members Pavilion, hope springs eternal that those memories revive.

New Zealanders seldom play at the ground, but will be aware of what to expect. One side could be longer than the other depending on which strip of the block gets used after a full slate of test, ODI and Big Bash League T20s this summer.

It's a proper cricket ground so field positions, running between the wickets and backing up off the ball will all need adapting to what New Zealand might strike on a smaller ground like Eden Park.

The average first innings score in nine BBL first innings this season is 154. That figure balloons to 164 if you take out the anomaly when the Brisbane Heat were dismissed for 73 by the Sydney Sixers.

Four matches were won by the team batting first; five by the team batting second.

Four results came down to the last ball of the match.

New Zealand are ranked second in the world and Australia are seventh, yet the hosts' squad includes players worth four times as much as the visitors in the Indian Premier League auction.

The chances are a close contest is in prospect.

New Zealand expect to welcome back Colin Munro and will give serious consideration to bowling two specialist spinners in Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi. Presuming Tom Blundell plays as a specialist wicketkeeper, a decision is required whether to stick with Ross Taylor at No5, or push Anaru Kitchen down the order from acting as a temporary No3 at Bay Oval against Pakistan.

Aaron Finch and Travis Head have been ruled out of the Australian starting XI.