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Australia win toss and ask New Zealand to bat

File photo of Australian batsman Steve Smith playing a shot during his Cricket World Cup semi-final match against India in Sydney, March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Christo
File photo of Australian batsman Steve Smith playing a shot during his Cricket World Cup semi-final match against India in Sydney, March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Christo

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Australia captain Steve Smith won the toss and asked New Zealand to bat first on a green Basin Reserve wicket in the first match of their two-test series on Friday.

Both sides had already named their starting teams a day before the game with Australia bringing back veteran pace bowler Peter Siddle after he missed their most recent test against West Indies in Sydney in early January.

Jackson Bird also returns after more than two years in the international wilderness with James Pattinson not quite ready to bear the workload expected in a test after he battled a shin injury during Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition.

New Zealand batsman Henry Nicholls makes his test debut in place of the injured Ross Taylor, while off-spinner Mark Craig has been recalled after a foot injury to Mitchell Santner, which opened the way for Corey Anderson to fill the all-rounder spot.

New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Corey Anderson, BJ Watling, Mark Craig, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Trent Boult

Australia: Steve Smith (captain), Joe Burns, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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