- England are missing some of their key players and that will likely make a huge difference in their on-field performance
- Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, and Tim Southee have been in excellent form for the Kiwis in recent times
- England are a little too over-reliant on Joe Root, James Anderson, and Stuart Broad to deal the damage
New Zealand’s team will play a Test match for the first time in England on Wednesday after six years. The first Test of the two-Test series will be played at the historic grounds of Lord’s. Veteran fast bowler Stuart Broad has been made the vice-captain of the England team for this series.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been ruled out of the team due to an injury, which led to Broad being made vice-captain for the first time in Test cricket. The ECB took to Twitter to officially confirm Broad’s appointment as vice-captain. Broad has previously captained England in 27 T20Is and three ODIs.
England could become the first team to register their 50th Test win against New Zealand if they win the first Test in the two-Test series. Apart from this, before the start of the series, English team captain Joe Root said that wicket-keeper batsman James Bracey will play the first Test. There have been 105 Tests between England and New Zealand so far, in which England has won 48, while New Zealand has won only 11 Tests.
Let us tell you, this test series is not part of the ICC World Test Championship, as it was prepared in January. It is not even mentioned in the ICC’s Future Tour Program ie FTP before January. However, the series points will be added to the ICC Test rankings of both the teams.
The England Cricket Board and the team selectors have certainly taken everyone by surprise with their decisions on the selection of the team for this Test series against England. All eight players who have been a part of the Indian Premier League are being rested and England will basically go with each other to play the upcoming series. This is understandable for some players – Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes – but there is really no point in resting the other six, especially when the length of the IPL was almost halved.
While England have performed brilliantly of late in limited-overs cricket, their runs in the longest format of the game have been far from ideal. They were beaten 3-1 by India in an away series just before the start of the IPL. Also he has had a poor record against New Zealand in Test cricket in recent times. They lost 1–0 in their last two tours against New Zealand, although they were both away from the series.
With a tightly packed calendar following this series, it is likely that England are taking this series as an opportunity to groom their young talent. Also, the series is not a part of the World Test Championship and hence, has little significance as far as the record books are concerned.
Despite fielding a near-second line team for this series, England will face a tough challenge. Rory Burns, Ollie Pope, Dominic Sibley and Jack Crowley have all done well in the recent past and are able to back Joe Root to pick up the Kiwi bowlers. Having said that, with both Sam Curran and Ben Stokes absent, England are certainly missing a quality all-rounder in their lower batting order. Joe Root will need to show more responsibility and he can prove to be the top scorer for his team in this match. This is a punt that you will definitely want to take.
England’s bowling certainly struggles even in the absence of Jofra Archer. Players like James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Mark Wood are capable of destroying any batting lineup on their day. Ollie Robinson is likely to make his debut and Jack Leach will likely play a lone spinner in the absence of Moeen Ali.
Even though New Zealand would like to win this series, their main objective will be to win the ICC World Championship final after the series. New Zealand have never won an ICC event and the first WTC title could be a fitting title for them
The Kiwis have not been in red-ball action since the beginning of this year and it may take some time to progress. Also, he will need a little extra time to adapt to the conditions in England. Historically, New Zealand have not had a really good time in England and their success rate of less than ten percent speaks volumes about it.
Looking at the New Zealand team, the lack of an experienced spinner is immediately visible. Apart from them, however, New Zealand have all their experienced players available and this could be an important factor when playing in England. They have the services of Mitchell Santner and Ejaz Patel but it will be interesting to see how much influence they have in the English conditions.
New Zealand’s fortunes will depend on two of its most experienced players, Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson, who are not only well-equipped to play in any position, but have been in great form lately. New Zealand have no real weakness as far as batting is concerned. We can also see Devon Conway, who has been in exceptional touch and scored a fifty in tour games, making his debut in this all-important fixture.
Though their bowling lineup looks one dimensional without an experienced spinner, they certainly have bowlers who can do their job well. Also, their pace bowlers are all different and that will give variety to the attack. Batsmen like Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner and Tim Southee can be tough to handle for any batting unit. They have someone in Mitchell Santner who can hold at one end while the fast bowlers chip in at the other. Overall, New Zealand have a great team and if they adapt to the conditions quickly, they will be a tough team to handle.
Match: ENG vs NZ 1st Test
Days: June 2 to June 6, 2021
Time: 3:30 PM IST/ 11:00 AM Local
Venue: Lords, London, England
TV Channels: Sony Six/HD
Live Streaming: SonyLIV and website (subscription required)
PITCH AND CONDITIONS
After last week, things are expected to improve in the coming week. The sun is expected to shine on all five days with partly cloudy sky throughout the game. Over the years, we’ve seen game trials of Lord’s produce and the same is likely to happen again. Having said that, bowlers have a slight advantage because of the green on the wicket. Weather usually decides the score here and given that it is likely to be good, the team batting first will want to score at least 350 runs on the board.
England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Dan Lawrence, James Bracey (wk), Craig Overton, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Colin De Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner.
England: Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Daniel Lawrence, James Bracey (wk), Craig Overton, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Sam Billings, Olly Stone, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, Haseeb Hameed.
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Doug Bracewell, Will Young, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry, Devon Conway, Ajaz Patel, Daryl Mitchell, Rachin Ravindra.