KEY TALKING POINTS OUT OF AUSTRALIA'S SERIES WIN OVER PAKISTAN
DAVID WARNER RISES FROM THE ASHES
It's hard to believe questions were being asked about David Warner's place in the Test team a month ago. The left-hander recovered from his 95 runs in five Ashes Tests to average 489 for the Pakistan series - the third highest of any player in Test history. Set the tone with 154 in Brisbane before he was denied a shot at a world record when Tim Paine declared with him on 335no in Adelaide. He'll carry that confidence into a series against a New Zealand attack known for swinging the ball.
NATHAN LYON STILL HAS IT
Slight concerns were being raised of Nathan Lyon after quiet end to the Ashes and just two wickets in Brisbane. Like David Warner, he shut those down quickly. His five-wicket haul in the second innings in Adelaide was the 16th of his career as he finished off Pakistan on day four. Australia will need more of the same from him against New Zealand.
MITCHELL STARC HAS HIS MOJO BACK
Mitchell Starc's absence in the Ashes was one of the key talking points but he finished the Pakistan series as the leading wicket-taker after earning a recall at home. With a slight change to his load-up in his action, Starc appears to have found a nice balance between control and pace. He took 14 wickets at 17 against the tourists, highlighted by his 6-66 in Adelaide.
STEVE SMITH IS HUMAN AFTER ALL
Before the summer started one of the key statistics about Steve Smith was the fact he's never gone more than two Tests without a half-century. If he misses out in Perth against New Zealand, that will be broken. Smith's series average of 20 was the lowest of his Test career, but it could hardly be taken with any real weight considering he came to the wicket at 2-351 and 2-369 in his two innings.
HAS AUSTRALIA FOUND A NO.3?
Marnus Labuschagne looks the answer. The Queenslander became the first Australian to back up his maiden Test ton with another one in the next innings since Phillip Hughes in 2009. Has already shown he has the fight to get through the tough periods after his Ashes series in England and then got the monkey off his back by converting a half-century into a hundred in Brisbane.
NEW ZEALAND TEST AWAITS
Australia's biggest challenge of the summer will arrive in next Thursday's first Test against Pakistan. The Black Caps are ranked No.2 in the world and have not lost a Test series since March 2017. They have been triumphant in a series just once in Australia in 1985-86, but arrive for the three-Test series with some serious threats. Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls and Tom Latham are top-shelf batsmen and Neil Wagner is one of the best quicks in the world.