England vs New Zealand: Preview

On Wednesday, England and New Zealand will play the first of two test matches at Lords Cricket Ground.  For England, these two matches will serve as the beginning of a packed summer schedule. This schedule includes games against Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and India. 

As for New Zealand, these two test matches will serve as a warm-up for the World Test Championship final. New Zealand will be taking on India in Southampton on the 18th of June and looking to familiarise themselves with English conditions. 

England and New Zealand Squads

England: Joe Root(C), James Anderson, Sam Billings(wk), James Bracey(wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Mark Wood.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson(C), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Devon Conway, Colin De Granhomme, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl
Mitchell. Henry Nicholls. Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor. Neil Wagner, BJ Watling(wk), Will Young.

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Team News

England enters this series with a few new faces in the squad. Players like James Bracey, Ollie Robison, and Sam Billings will be looking to make their debuts. Billings and Haseeb Hameed came into the squad as late replacements after the freak injury to keeper Ben Foakes. Foakes slipped on a sock in the Oval dressing room and is out for the series.

England has also chosen to rest the likes of Sam Curran, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, and Jonny Bairstow. After their exploits in the IPL, they have been given time off. Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer miss out as they continue their rehabilitation from injury.

As for New Zealand, star bowler Trent Boult will miss out as he reported arriving from New Zealand during the first test. He should be ready in time for the World Test Championship final. Other than that, New Zealand has a settled side.

This includes the number one test batsman in the world and captain Kane Williamson. It will also include guys like Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, and Kyle Jamieson. Wicketkeeper BJ Watling will be retiring after the WTC final, so he will be looking to make a final impact for his side. 

Questions for England and New Zealand

England’s main concern will be the absence of Ben Stokes. With Stokes injured, England may have to go into the games with just four front-line bowlers, as they have no other all-round options. In that case, they likely go for six batsmen, a keeper, and four bowlers. 

The next question is do they play a spinner, in Jack Leach or they do go for four-seamers. It will all depend on the Lord’s pitch, but England only picking one spinner in the squad might be a sign that they expect a seam-friendly pitch. Joe Root and Dan Lawrence could also be used as part-time spinners. England will also have to assess which of the fast bowlers play. England has many options in this position.

They have the experience and skill of Broad and Anderson, the pace of Stone and Wood, the returning and in-form Overton, and the young hopeful Robinson. Broad and Anderson will likely continue their historic partnership, but it is unknown who will join them in the attack. 

For New Zealand, there have been reports that they are assessing Tom Latham’s opening partner. New Zealand will choose between the incumbent Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, and Will Young. 

Blundell is expected to take over the gloves from BJ Watling when he retires. This means
that Blundell will start batting at number seven in the future, so with the long term in mind, New Zealand may look at other options. 

Conway has experience of batting at number three for his domestic team, but the opening
position is the only spot available right now. Will Young has been opening for Durham, in English County Cricket, and has been in good form. He also has had a while acclimatising to English conditions. 

They also have questions about what to do at the number seven position. Colin de Granhomme has been New Zealand’s seam bowling all-rounder for several years now. But he is coming back from an injury. Therefore, could New Zealand be tempted to play young all-rounder Rachin Ravindra?

Unlike de Granhomme, Ravindra is a spin-bowling all-rounder, and Lord’s has historically not
been a spin-friendly surface.  However, Ravindra was impressive in the intra-squad match and could make his debut at
some point on this tour. 

Predicted Line-up

England: Burns, Sibley, Crawley, Root(c), Pope, Lawrence, Bracey, Robinson, Wood, Broad, Anderson.
New Zealand: Latham, Blundell, Williamson(c), Taylor, Nicholls, Watling, De Granhomme, Santner, Jamieson, Southee, Wagner.

TV Channel, Start Time.

As with all England cricket matches at home, it will be shown on Sky Sports. Coverage starts at 10 am, with the first ball usually bowled at 11 am.

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