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England, New Zealand will be wary of pink ball challenges - First Test Preview

Game: First Test, New Zealand v England
Venue: Eden Park in Auckland
Timings: 22nd to 26th March, 01:00 AM GMT / 02:00 PM Local

The first Test between England and Black Caps at Eden Park in Auckland is set to create history as it will be the first time a pink-ball day-night five-day game will be played in New Zealand.

New Zealand were part of the inaugural day-night Test ever played in Adelaide against Australia in 2015 but England have the recent most experience of playing two in last six months after losing and winning a game apiece. The move is seen as a proactive step from New Zealand Cricket to increase the audiences after a poor attendance in the home series against Windies.

England will be relieved to have Ben Stokes back in the line-up after a dismal Ashes series. The England Lions losing to Windies A 3-0 wasn't encouraging for the selectors. Stokes participated in a decent training session on Tuesday which means he is expected to play a full part in the game which will be a relief for James Vince, who can retain his number three spot. Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of pressure on Alastair Cook and Mark Stoneman to negate a quality seam attack from New Zealand but England will have the advantage of batting depth Chris Woakes at nine and Stuart Broad at 10.

The pace attack will be led by Stuart Broad and James Anderson along with Woakes while Stokes is expected to add more flexibility to the line-up - something that they missed in Australia while Moeen Ali will once again be the lead spinner.

New Zealand will be relieved by the fitness news on Ross Taylor as he has been in the form of his life during the recently concluded ODI series. The return of BJ Watling from injury will give them some confidence in the lower middle order though Tom Blundell might have felt unfair on his exclusion despite a century on debut against Windies and also a fine ton against England in the warm-up game.

Like England's option of Stokes, New Zealand will be hoping Colin de Grandhomme to provide flexibility and the bowling unit looks fairly settled with Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and leg-spinner Todd Astle.

England v New Zealand in Auckland Stats - England have won four and lost one in the 16 games they played in Auckland against New Zealand with 11 ending in a draw. The only victory of New Zealand over England at the venue came in 2002 but this will be the first time the two teams will play in a day-night Test.

Probable Team:

New Zealand: 1. Jeet Raval, 2. Tom Latham, 3. Kane Williamson (captain), 4. Ross Taylor, 5. Henry Nicholls, 6. BJ Watling (wk), 7. Colin de Grandhomme, 8. Todd Astle, 9. Neil Wagner, 10. Tim Southee, 11. Trent Boult.

England: 1. Mark Stoneman, 2. Alastair Cook, 3. James Vince, 4. Joe Root (captain), 5. Dawid Malan, 6. Ben Stokes, 7. Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8. Moeen Ali, 9. Chris Woakes, 10. Stuart Broad, 11. James Anderson.

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