Kiwis set for Boxing Day Test team shake-up

New Zealand will shake up their top order for the Boxing Day Test with Tom Blundell to open and Jeet Raval set to be dropped for the must-win match against Australia.

Blundell opened for the Black Caps in place of Raval in a tour match on Sunday, scoring 59 before being retired against a Victorian XI in Melbourne.

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Having played just two Tests previously in 2017, Blundell is on the tour as a back-up wicketkeeper and batsman and has previously been used in the middle order.

Raval has averaged just 7.3 in his past nine Test innings and New Zealand need change after he scored just one in each innings of their 296-run Test loss in Perth last week.

Colin de Grandhomme and Tom Blundell fist bump during a New Zealand Test team training session at Optus Stadium on December 10, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

"It's just a mindset shift, being a little more patient outside off stump," Blundell said after New Zealand confirmed he would come into the side as an opener.

"I'll probably try and be the same but it's just for the first 30 balls you have to be a little more patient outside off stump.

"If I can last them hopefully I can bat a little more positively."

Boult returns

Blundell's innings on Sunday came against an attack that included Black Caps left-armer Trent Boult.

With New Zealand batting first in the practice match at Scotch College, Boult turned out for the Victorian team in a bid to get through some work.

Originally scheduled as a two-day match, the opening day was abandoned on Friday due to extreme heat - making Sunday's hit out an unlimited overs affair.

Boult hasn't played since he injured his ribs and side in a Test against England last month, and will be a crucial weapon for New Zealand at the MCG.

He is, however, expected to be fit for the Test starting on Thursday and had Tom Latham caught at mid-off early in play on Sunday.

The Black Caps need wins in both Melbourne and Sydney to win a Test series in Australia for just the second time.