WICKET keeper Kruger van Wyk will make his Test debut for New Zealand against the country of his birth in the first Test against South Africa in Dunedin on Wednesday.
A hip injury to first-choice gloveman BJ Watling means Van Wyk, 32, will play his maiden Test six years after leaving South Africa in search of higher honours.
Rob Nicol will also debut and open the batting with Martin Guptill.
It continues their partnership from the one-day series and Brendon McCullum will drop down the order to bat at No.3.
Whether the Dunedin opening combination stays intact for the rest of the series depends on the availability of injured batsman Dean Brownlie, New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor told reporters on Tuesday.
Nicol, 28, was also likely to get a chance to bowl his offspinners, he said.
Van Wyk, who has a first-class average of 40.42 and a high score of 178 not out, will bat at No.7.
He has been the one of the leading run scorers in domestic first-class cricket this summer – racking up 638 runs at an average of 91.14.
Despite facing an imposing South African team that had won five limited-overs matches in a row against New Zealand, Taylor said he was feeling confident ahead of the Test.
The squad had been boosted with the return of experienced players Daniel Vettori and Chris Martin, he said.
“We want to get out there and show what we are made of,” he said.
“It was obviously disappointing to lose the (one-day) series, but how we will be remembered in 20-30 years’ time will be how we played in this Test match.”