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Australia vs New Zealand cricket Second Test: James Pattinson comes in for Peter Siddle

Steve Smith says the juicy Christchurch greentop holds no fears for his batsmen as New Zealand consider unleashing a four-pronged pace attack to thwart Australia's bid to regain the No.1 Test ranking.

How Australia's top six cope on the surprisingly damp pitch will play a decisive factor in whether the team can complete their climb back to the No.1 ranking.

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Smith looks forward to No 1 ranking

Australian cricket captain speaks to the media at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

The toss again looms as vital in the second Test, starting Saturday, though the Kiwis believe there is enough life in the pitch to ensure both attacks have their chance to capitalise on the bowler-friendly conditions.

Australia have been adamant they would have cut the mustard had they batted first in Wellington. Their claim was partially backed up by how they coped on the first day though the track was more treacherous when New Zealand were at the crease.

Complete validation will come if they can deliver the goods at Hagley Oval.

"I don't think it's a concern. For me it's just about making sure our batters adapt to the conditions," Smith said. "We know what we're likely to face. We knew that before we came over here and for us it's about making sure we sum up the conditions quickly, be able to get through those tough periods.

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"Things obviously get a lot easier when you're out there for longer and getting through those initial periods are really important for our batters. I thought Usman Khawaja and Adam Voges did that really well last Test match. Hopefully a few of the other guys can step up and do it this game."

The Black Caps are so confident conditions will favour the fast men they are seriously contemplating rolling the dice and picking four quicks.

Matt Henry, who caused Smith so much concern in the one-dayers, is already a confirmed in and will be joined by left-armer Neil Wagner if the Black Caps decide to leave out off-spinner Mark Craig.

"The pitch looks good. It looks like it's got a nice healthy covering of grass, I'm sure that both teams' bowling lineups will relish it," McCullum said.

"It's green enough. It's not going to be necessarily a pleasant time out there with bat in hand. Maybe it's one of those times when fortune favours the brave. We'll see what unfolds. I think it will go around for a while."

The Black Caps believe they were too uptight in the first Test and have vowed to release the shackles as they aim to avoid their first series defeat at home in four years. They have beaten Australia only once since 1993.

"The focus for us in this Test match is to get back to what has worked for us in the last three years - and that's playing with a lot of enthusiasm, a smile on your face and trying to seize the key moments when they arise and trying not to put too much pressure upon ourselves, which is probably what we did in that last Test match," McCullum said.

"There are not too many players who have played for New Zealand in the last decade or two who have beaten Australia.

"To be able to do it at home would be pretty special, especially to do it to level the series as well. But there's a long way to go before that result plays out."

As expected, Australia made only one change, replacing the injured Peter Siddle with James Pattinson.

TEAMS

Australia:  Joe Burns, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Adam Voges, Mitch Marsh, Peter Nevill, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.

New Zealand (possible): Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Brendon McCullum (c), Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, Mark Craig/Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Trent Boult


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