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England vs New Zealand, 1st Test Preview: With Anderson & Broad back, England look to emerge from red-ball rut

England's Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Stuart Broad and James Anderson
England's Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Stuart Broad and James Anderson
©REUTERS
 

Start of the summer, spring in the step, Lord's playing host and the slope discussions in full flow. Bring on Test cricket.

LIVE SCORES - England vs New Zealand, 1st Test


A fresh start

On the back of just one victory from their last 17 Test matches, England are left with only one way to go, and that is upwards. With the appointment of Ben Stokes as captain and Brendon McCullum as the new Test head coach, England will look to hit reset as they take on reigning World Test Champions New Zealand at the start of the summer.

The home side is already reeling with several injuries but will be relieved to have the old guard James Anderson and Stuart Broad back as there is a sense of security and comfort with the two veterans around, particularly in the conducive conditions of England.

Last encounter

It wasn't far ago when the two teams met in red-ball cricket. In fact, England started off their summer last year with a two-match test series against New Zealand, which the visitors won by 1-0 and then went on to overhaul India to be crowned the maiden Word Test Champions.

While New Zealand are coming off a drawn two-match test series against South Africa, England lost their last test series 1-0 against West Indies, on the back of a horrific Ashes.

 New Zealand undercooked

New Zealand are clearly undercooked coming into the series as they were swept off their feet by County Select XI in the second warm-up match. The team was bowled out for just 148 in their second innings and ended up losing the game by 7 wickets, with Kane Williamson recording a 9-ball duck following a poor IPL.

Will Young's impressive performances at the top of the order for New Zealand have created a headache for the side. With Devon Conway also fit and available, the left-hander who made his debut with an iconic double century at Lord's itself, is likely to bat at number 4.

Tom Latham, Will Young and Kane Williamson will make up New Zealand's top 3. With Henry Nicholls not completely fit, Daryl Mitchell will bat at number 5, followed by wicketkeeper Tomb Blundell.

Wagner, Southee and Jamieson form Kiwi pace trio

Colin de Grandhomme who did a serviceable job in the World Test Championship final will be their pace bowling all-rounder, with Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson making up the pace attack. Trent Boult must be fatigued after his IPL heroics.

With the pitches quite dry, even at the start of the summer, Ajaz Patel is a certainty for New Zealand. Likewise, Jack Leach is set to start for England as the home team will like to instill some confidence in their number one spinner. 

Root at No 4

Alex Lees and Zak Crawley will continue to open the batting for England after some hit or miss performances against West Indies. Ollie Pope at number 3 is a big punt, especially given his recent troubles and the fact that he hasn't ever batted at this position even for his County Surrey.

Joe Root and Ben Stokes will form the pillars of the England batting line up at number 4 and number 5 respectively, with Jonny Bairstow at 6. Ben Foakes has finally emerged as England's first-choice wicketkeeper in test cricket.

Overton to pip Potts?

Stuart Broad and James Anderson will lead the England bowling attack, after injuries to a host of their pace bowlers. Craig Overton and Matthew Potts will compete for the place of the 3rd pacer.

Given Overton's ability with the bat, he might just prevent the Durham lad, who has picked up 35 wickets at 18.57 in this season of the County Championship, from making his debut.

Predicted Playing XIs

New Zealand
- Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel

England - Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root , Ben Stokes (c), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Foakes (wk), Craig Overton/Matthew Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson

 

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