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If a week is sometimes a long time in sport, then it is an eon since New Zealand and India last played each other in a five-day test match.

The rivalry resumes in Hamilton on Wednesday, five and a half years after their last meeting, the longest current gap in matches between any of the eight longer-established test-playing nations.

The three-match series is a particular challenge for India. Always formidable at home, it must start to make a habit of beating teams lower down the international pecking order if it is to challenge Australia and South Africa as the world's top team. This, though, is the rivalry in which home advantage has meant most.

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