New Zealand eye historic series victory in Christchurch - Second Test Preview

England's Jack Leach during nets ahead of the second Test in Christchurch
England's Jack Leach during nets ahead of the second Test in Christchurch
©REUTERS
 

Game: 2nd Test - New Zealand v England
Venue: Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Timings: 30th March, 10:00 GMT, 11:00 Local

A home series victory against England at home has been a rare achievement for New Zealand but they will have an opportunity to accomplish when the two teams lock horns with each other in the second and final Test in Auckland.

The way England were blown away by Trent Boult and Tim Southee that saw them dismissed for 58 in the first innings costed them the first Test in Auckland. Even though they came up with a better performance with the bat in the second innings that saw four of their batsmen cross half-century, the damage was already done.

Liam Livingstone, who impressed in the warm-up game is likely to get a chance while head coach Trevor Bayliss has already indicated that Moeen Ali might be replaced by Jack Leach, who is set for a debut after an impressive first-class record of 185 wickets from 54 matches including an impressive 18 wickets in the recent series against Windies A.

Ben Stokes' role as a specialist batsman has disturbed the team combination a bit with James Vince forced to miss out though he showed a lot of resilience in the second innings. Their unidimensional attack will allow pace bowler Mark Wood to feature on what will be his first appearance in the longer format after almost a year. If England fail to win the Christchurch game, it will be their worst ever streak away from home, making it 13 Tests without a victory.

New Zealand's only home series victory at home against England came in 1984. Such has been England dominance in New Zealand but Kane Williamson will be heading into the game with a lot of confidence after having the visitors on the hook during the Auckland encounter. Todd Astle, who impressed with a three-wicket haul in the second innings has been ruled out with an injury and the selectors might bring Ish Sodhi has a straight swap or opt for an additional pacer in Matt Henry.

The batting unit looks fairly settled and Henry Nicholls showed his class with an unbeaten century along with Williamson himself. The return of BJ Watling will calm New Zealand's nerves in the lower middle order and Ross Taylor will look to make a strong statement as he did during the ODI series against England.

Pitch and Conditions: The forecast for the game is much better as compared to first Test and the pitch is expected to be hard with pace bowlers set to dominate the proceedings.

Probable Team:

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

England: 1. Alastair Cook, 2. Mark Stoneman, 3. James Vince, 4. Joe Root (captain), 5. Dawid Malan, 6. Ben Stokes, 7. Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8. Mark Wood, 9. Stuart Broad, 10. Jack Leach / Craig Overton, 11. James Anderson

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