OPINION: Five questions ahead of the historic day-night cricket test at Eden Park

OPINION: Last time the Black Caps played a day-night cricket test, Martin Guptill opened the batting, Brendon McCullum came in at five and offspinner Mark Craig was in the team.

No New Zealand batsman scored more than 50 in that game, which the Black Caps lost by three wickets.

Thursday’s historic clash against England is the first test under lights in New Zealand, after the format was trialled during the Plunket Shield last year.

Here are five big questions heading into the crucial encounter.

1. Do we even need a specialist spinner under lights?

New Zealand enter the series with just one specialist spinner - leggie Todd Astle. The Canterbury tweaker’s been picked ahead of Ish Sodhi due to his all-round ability.

While modern cricket usually demands a slow bowler, a four-strong pace attack could be the way to go with the pink ball in hand.

Using Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Matt Henry under the lights would sure shake the English up, especially as they offer a potent mix of swing, seam and bounce. In the right conditions, that could be the answer to the 20-wicket question.

Plus you've always got the casual offspin of captain Kane Williamson, particularly useful against the host of England left-handers.

2. Will it swing?

This is what everyone wants to know. Predicting whether the ball’s going to jump around is hard enough for a regular test, let alone a day-nighter.

Regardless, both teams need the ball to move.

The Kiwi pace attack relies heavily on the talents of Boult and Southee, while England's Jimmy Anderson is the king of swing.

Boult and Anderson have grabbed five-wicket hauls in previous day-nighters, and are the most important bowlers for each side.

The Black Caps attack will be licking their lips if it starts to leap around, but conversely, their fragile batting line-up could also be exposed with a bit of movement.

3. Will BJ Watling remind everyone why he's the country's best wicketkeeper/batsman?

After Tom Blundell's sterling 131 not out against England in a warm-up game, there's been plenty of talk about the keepers battering down Watling's door.

They shouldn't get a look in - there's no doubt Watling is the right man for the job. He's the gritty and hard-nosed batsman you want in your corner, who'll get stuck in for match-winning contributions down the order.

While he hasn't been in sparkling form, scoring 49 runs in his last three innings, he averages a tick over 38 in test cricket, with six centuries to his name.

4. Does anyone really care?

The day-night gimmick is still a new concept and it'll be interesting to see just how excited cricket fans get about it.

It’s been a gruelling summer packed with games and these two tests at the backend are almost like an afterthought.

It’s also rare to find a gripping two-game series, especially when the result of one match goes so far to deciding the overall outcome.

Strong ticket sales indicate the public's keen to get along, which is promising for the longer form of the game.

The threat of rain has the potential to turn this into a fizzer, but jam-packed stands could also ensure a day-night test is in the home calendar for years to come.

At least with the distraction of a new format, we'll hopefully be spared some of the 'Eden Park short boundaries' chat.

5. How will the Black Caps fielding hold up?

For a team that prides itself on their fielding, the Black Caps have been decidedly poor recently. Dropped catches and even overthrows have popped up with regularity, and it’s something they'll have to fix in this series.

The lights and the pink ball add in another challenge, and fiery bowler Neil Wagner’s already admitted it's much harder to judge at night. There's less time to work out the pace and trajectory of the ball before it thuds into your hands, making for some uncomfortable moments on the boundary.

New Zealand will have to be at their best in the field throughout both games, because they simply can't afford to give the likes of Alastair Cook and Joe Root second chances.

Henry Rounce is a Newshub sports producer.