England v New Zealand 1st Test Preview
Having underperformed and accused of being complacent on their recent tour of New Zealand, England will be looking at sending out a statement when the 1st Test against the Black Caps gets underway from Lord’s on Thursday.
The Three Lions face a busy period ahead of them and with a the five-match Ashes series against Australia starting in July, captain Alastair Cook will look at the Test series against New Zealand as the perfect opportunity for his players to cement their place in the England team going forward.
The Three Lions are 4-5 to come away from the home of cricket victorious and with the weather likely to suit the England bowlers, Alastair Cook and his team have attracted the majority of the early support in the opening Test.
England though will be without batsman Kevin Pietersen, who is unavailable for both Test through injury, but in 22-year-old Joe Root, the hosts have one of the best up and coming young batsman on the international scene to call upon. He has been in prolific form recently, racking up 646 first-class runs including 179 for England Lions against New Zealand.
Root along with Jonny Bairstow will be used to bulk up the middle order and with off-spinner Graeme Swann back fit having missed England’s tour of NZ through injury, the Three Lions arrive at Lord’s with a near full-strength side. Fast bowler Stuart Broad, who was England’s leading bowler in New Zealand with 11 test wickets will be looking at leading the England attack once again along with James Anderson.
New Zealand come into the 1st Test on the back of two heavy defeats to South Africa, but with their current pace attack of Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Trent Boult all fit, the Black Caps will be hoping that their bowlers can steer them to a surprise victory. It’s 10-1 for NZ to come away from Lord’s victorious with the draw priced up at 11-8.
On the batting front, the Kiwis will be looking towards Peter Fulton to put in another impressive performance. The 34-year-old scored a total of 347 runs in the recent series against England, including two centuries. It’s 11-2 for the Canterbury man to be NZ’s top 1st innings batsman at Lord’s with Hamish Rutherford and Ross Taylor both 4-1 and Brendon McCullum 9-2.
All eyes now turn to the five-day Test from Lord’s, hopefully the unpredictable English weather won’t play a pivotal role, and we get to see Alastair Cook and his men demonstrate why they are currently ranked as the second best Test side in the world.