CHRISTCHURCH - A home series feels like the perfect way for the Black Caps to put a miserable period of test cricket behind them.

There is the familiar playing conditions, the home crowd, and the predicted green wicket that comes with the fact the first match of the Pakistan series is the earliest Christchurch has ever staged a Test match.

It's probably enough for most Black Cap fans to breathe a sigh of relief after New Zealand was comprehensively beaten in consecutive Test series in South Africa (1-0) and India (3-0) in recent months.

Match starts tonight at 2:30 am

But when the first of Two test matches against Pakistan gets underway at Hagley Oval on Thursday morning, Black Caps coach Mike Hesson knows his troops will have more than a battle on their hands if they are to beat the visitors in a Test series for the first time since the 1984-85 season. Unlike New Zealand, which has lost three of their past four Test series, Pakistan hasn't lost a Test series since 2014 (Sri Lanka), and has rocketed to second in the Test rankings after notching five wins and two draws in their past seven series.

"I think from a bowling attack in particular, they've got an attack that suits all conditions around the world," Hesson said before his team's first training session at Hagley Oval on Tuesday.

"They swing the new ball, they can reverse it, obviously they've got a really good spinner, and they've got some real experience in their batting line up. They're tough in any conditions, but their bowling attack is certainly going to provide some challenges."

Despite New Zealand's form funk - a stark contrast to when they went seven series unbeaten between 2013-15 - Hesson isn't interested in dwelling on his team's shortcomings in India and South Africa. He's made a few changes to the squad - most notably dropping opener Martin Guptill for rookie Jeet Raval - and is relishing the opportunity for his team to get back on home soil after the struggles in India.

"We know our conditions well, so I think we've been stressing the fact that we need to prepare for conditions that we're more familiar with," Hesson said.

"So it's a matter of going through that rather than re-living India. Obviously the conditions over there were significantly different to what we're going to face over here. [Home is] certainly where you bank up your points, but you do that because the conditions are familiar to you and you should be able to adapt quicker than other sides."

New Zealand has wove seven of their past 11 home Tests, but Australia's recent woes against South Africa is no better example that playing at home and success don't automatically come hand-in-hand.

A couple of days before the first Test is scheduled to start, Hesson said the Hagley Oval pitch had a "good even covering", was firm and appeared to be a good wicket.

He hasn't yet finalised his playing XI, but confirmed he would play a spinner - Todd Astle is the only specialist spinner in the squad - while seamers Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Matt Henry will fight it out for three spots.

"We'll look at today's training and tomorrow, but also probably more importantly, look at the surface and just see what type of bowlers we want," Hesson said.

"There is good pace and bounce and I think that stays throughout, and I think it turns into a pretty flat surface. It's one of those surfaces where you are going to have to have enough resources to bowl a lot of overs, rather than thinking you're going to bowl them out in a session and a half. I don't think it's going to be like that."

Hesson said his team had moved on from their batting troubles in India, when they "didn't adapt as quickly as we needed to", and was concentrating on the challenge a well-travelled Pakistan team would bring.