Expect the return of a Boxing Day test against Sri Lanka at Christchurch's Hagley Oval, and a day-night test against Bangladesh at Hamilton's Seddon Park when next summer's international cricket itinerary is released.

The schedule is unconfirmed, but the Herald understands those contests will provide key discussion points.

New Zealand last played a Boxing Day test - also against Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval - in 2014. One pre-Christmas test at Wellington's Basin Reserve is likely to precede that fixture.

A floodlit test at Hamilton in early March would be the country's second pink-ball test. The first saw New Zealand trounce England by an innings and 49 runs at Eden Park last summer. The series' two other tests are pencilled in for Wellington and Christchurch.


If the decisions are ratified, it will present a tough call for Mt Maunganui's Bay Oval. They were in contention to become New Zealand's ninth test venue, particularly for the day-night test.

New Zealand prepared for their Eden Park pink-ball outing under Bay Oval's lights because of their superior lux quality. The players also rate the pitch block – one of which was awarded one-day international pitch of the year by New Zealand Cricket - for pace.

The ground's amenities have earned plaudits, and there has been general discussion at NZC level around its capability as a high performance centre longer term.

Bay Oval is being considered as a base by India A coach Rahul Dravid later this year.

Dravid used the precinct when mentoring the Indian under-19 side to World Cup victory last summer. That suggests the facilities meet international specifications.

However, Hamilton looks to have trumped Mt Maunganui for the day-night fixture as part of their fierce Northern Districts' rivalry. The decision is believed to hinge on Hamilton City Council approving an upgrade to the lux levels of the Seddon Park lights.

Any such revamp will need to ensure the bulbs fit on the existing towers, and a suitable lead-in time will be required for testing.

Hamilton's closer proximity to Auckland's population was also believed to be a compelling factor.

Commercial imperatives surrounding revenue and cost were a priority in sticking with three venues for the five tests.

Auckland, Dunedin, Mt Maunganui, Nelson and Wellington's Westpac Stadium are among spots in line for limited overs matches.

India's white-ball tour is likely to feature only floodlit venues because of the BCCI governing body's desire for matches to be broadcast at the best possible viewing times for an audience of millions which is six-and-a-half hours behind New Zealand time.

Eden Park was unavailable for a Waitangi Day ODI against India due to the Live Aid-style "Heartbeats Concert" organised by philanthropist Sir Ray Avery.

The concert - council consent permitting - hopes to fundraise enough money for Avery's LifePods incubators to save babies' lives worldwide.​