Sydney -  Australia mission to regain the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy begins Sunday when Steve Smith’s men face New Zealand in the series opener at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Black Caps have held the coveted trophy since February 2015 when they pipped Australia by one wicket in an epic at Auckland during the group stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup.

Australia were bundled out for 151 due in large part to Trent Boult’s 5-27 on that day, but an imperious performance by one-day wizard Mitchell Starc and his 6-28 almost got the visitors out of jail before Kane Williamson iced the game to seal the closest of victories.

The two sides met a month later in the World Cup final at the MCG, but while the Australians were crowned world champions after a seven-wicket triumph, the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy was not on the line on that occasion. In February this year, prior to a two-match Test series, New Zealand defeated Australia 2-1 at home to retain the silverware for a least another 10 months before the Trans-Tasman rivals would meet again in the 50-over format.

Now the series is back on Australian soil where the hosts hold a commanding one-day international record. Since January 1, 2010, no team has a won more ODI matches at home than Australia’s 52 wins from 68 matches, with India’s 44 victories from 62 games coming in second. And with only 13 losses in that period, Australia’s win/loss ratio of four wins to every loss is significantly higher than second best India’s 2.75.

But those records will count for nothing when Steve Smith and Williamson square off on Sunday for the first of three matches before the series heads to Canberra on Tuesday and Melbourne three days later.

The make-up of each XI for the opening fixture won’t be revealed until the toss, but at a venue that’s produced six scores in excess of 300 (with a high mark of 408) in its past six ODIs, expect plenty of runs on Sunday.

Australia were without premier pacemen Mitchell Starc (injury) and Josh Hazlewood (rested) for their most recent ODI series in South Africa, where they were spanked 5-0 by the Proteas.

World Cup final man-of-the-match James Faulkner was also missing through injury for the whitewash across the Indian Ocean, but the Tasmanian is back and full of confidence after scoring his maiden Sheffield Shield century this week.

The hosts will have 13 players to choose from after young allrounder Hilton Cartwright was released from the national squad to re-join his Western Australia teammates for their Shield clash against Queensland on Monday.

David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, George Bailey and Travis Head look set to make up the top order for Australia, with one allrounder out of Faulkner, Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell likely to round out the top six.

Maxwell’s recent comments in the media have seen him fined by his teammates but the Victorian is available for selection, while Marsh has played just one Shield match since returning from a shoulder injury.

For the first time at the elite level the pace trio of Starc, Hazlewood and Patrick Cummins will unite to form an all-out NSW fast-bowling unit on their home field. "(Cummins) bowled pretty quick yesterday," Smith said. "He bowled beautifully in the Matador Cup at the start of the season. He’s got that x-factor about him.

I think he’ll complement the other quicks really well and hopefully have a big impact in this series."

Throw in leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who was born in NSW before moving to South Australia to further his career, and the Australia attack will have a distinct tinge of sky blue to it.

New Zealand will rely heavily on the experienced top three of Martin Guptill, Tom Latham and Williamson to blunt the hosts’ hostile seamers.

Dashers Colin Munro and Colin de Grandhomme could take the game away from Smith’s men if they fire in the middle order, while all eyes will be on pace sensation Lockie Ferguson who is said to be capable of hitting speeds of 150kph.

"(Ferguson) bowls quick, he ran in and bumped me a few times which was great," Williamson said on Saturday. "It’s what you want to face and it was fantastic preparation. The Australians will do the same. He’s a point of difference in our squad. Adam Milne’s done it for a period of time and unfortunately he’s injured. Lockie’s young and strong and bowls fast."

Veteran new-ball combo Tim Southee and Boult look set to lead the Black Caps with the ball, with left-arm orthodox spinner Mitchell Santner likely to be the sole specialist tweaker.


AUSTRALIA: Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Aaron Finch, George Bailey, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Hilton Cartwright, Matthew Wade (wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood, Adam Zampa.

NEW ZEALAND: Kane Williamson (capt), BJ Watling (wk), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee.