England looking to put Kiwis to the sword after Lord’s thriller
England have certainly been the topic of cricket in recent months for a number of reasons, mainly following the sacking of head coach Peter Moores and the Kevin Pietersen saga, but finally they are back in the news for the right reasons.
They came into the current two-Test series against a high-in-confidence New Zealand, who had just reached the ICC World Cup final, with the pressure of having the tag as home favourites, although many predicted more failure.
However, a see-saw match at Lord’s eventually resulted in England (9/4 with Coral for victory in the second Test) winning after a thrilling fifth day at the home of cricket.
So, from the home of cricket to the hallowed Headingley ground the two teams go, with the hosts hoping to avoid another draw, as they did in the recent series in the West Indies after being 1-0 up too. New Zealand are 16/5 to win and thus share the spoils overall.
But a number of Yorkshire stars will be on offer to temporary boss Paul Farbrace, who will go back to being assistant to incoming head coach Trevor Bayliss in June, including Liam Plunkett, who may get a chance after being called up.
Seamer Plunkett has been added to the 12-man squad, though it would be unfair to replace him with Mark Wood, who had a solid debut taking four wickets at Lord’s. The latter is 10/3 to be top England bowler in the first innings here.
First Test hero and all-rounder Ben Stokes, meanwhile, is 4/1 in the same market and 8/1 to get the highest score for the hosts in the first innings following his terrific 92 and century that followed against the country of his birth.
Yorkshire star and vice-captain Joe Root also impressed, and will be looking to impress at his home county ground by being highest first innings scorer from both teams at 4/1. His club and country teammates Gary Ballance and Adam Lyth, meanwhile, will be looking to put Lord’s behind them after failing with the bat. The highly-rated Zimbabwean-born batter is 11/2 in the same market, while opener Lyth is 5/1 just in the England market.
Captain Alastair Cook looks to have finally found his feet again, after a terrific 162, and is a 9/2 shout.
For the Black Caps, Kane Williamson was the standout player after his hundred, and is 10/3 to be their top first innings batsman again.
In the bowling department, meanwhile, World Cup star Trent Boult took nine wickets overall, and is 4/1 to be highest wicket taker from both teams in the first innings.