NAPIER, New Zealand - Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor won the toss and elected to bowl on a greenish pitch on the opening day of the one-off test against New Zealand on Thursday.

The McLean Park pitch, usually a haven for batsmen, was unusually grassy on the opening morning and Taylor and his New Zealand opposite Ross Taylor had described the toss as critical and made clear their intention to bowl first.

Zimbabwe will be without veteran left-arm spinner Ray Price who has groin injury and whose place has been taken by Graeme Cremer. Forster Mutizwa and Shingi Masakadza were named to make test debuts.

The Zimbabweans have won one and lost two matches since their readmission to test cricket last year. New Zealand won its most recent test, against Australia, by seven runs prior to Christmas.