(Reuters) - After breaking new ground in the Caribbean, New Zealand have little time to rest before heading to Australia for a one-day international series that was repeatedly shelved due to COVID-19.
The Black Caps were midway through a three-day journey home on Wednesday after a fruitful tour of West Indies, where they notched their first one-day and T20 series wins against the hosts.
They will have a week's break at home in New Zealand but then head back to Australia for another one-day series as they look to continue their winning momentum in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup in the same country.
New Zealand's last white-ball tour of Australia ended abruptly in March, 2020, as the pandemic brought a halt to global sport.
Multiple attempts to reschedule the one-day Chappell–Hadlee Trophy backfired as governments in both countries slammed their borders shut and placed onerous quarantine demands on international arrivals.
With the last restrictions lifted this year, the three-match series can finally go ahead in Cairns from Sept. 6.
"Every time we come up against the Australians, we have some pretty good games," said New Zealand all-rounder Mitch Santner, man-of-the-series against West Indies in the one-day component.
"We obviously haven't played the series in a little bit now... We've played a lot of cricket but the week at home will be nice to get the lads freshened up, ready to go for another Chappell-Hadlee series."
Apart from the trophy, there is little at stake in the one-day international series, but both squads will have plenty of players set to feature in the T20 World Cup in October-November.
Beaten by Australia in last year's T20 World Cup final in the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand will especially relish the chance to get one over their trans-Tasman rivals ahead of the global showpiece.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Christopher Cushing)