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Underrated New Zealand seamers can grab 7/2 series draw in England

New Zealand arrive in England on Monday for a comprehensive start to the cricketing summer with one day internationals, the ICC’s Champions Trophy and a 20/20 series all to come, but first there’s the small matter of a two match test series – one that comes hot on the heels of the two sides 0-0 series draw in New Zealand.The Black Caps will arrive in England buoyed by their performances against their hosts on home soil in March and Coral go 7/2 about them snatching a series draw against England.

Mike Hesson’s team came within a single wicket of snatching a victory in the last 19 overs of a rain-damaged three-match tour two months ago in which all three matches were drawn. The pitches England encountered on the trip drew criticism for their benign nature, but – even in the absence of injured leading paceman Doug Bracewell – New Zealand’s somewhat unheralded bowling attack caused Andy Flower’s batsmen plenty of problems finding movement off the seam.

The Black Caps’ Trent Boult and Neil Wagner topped the series wickets table with 23-year-old left-arm medium-paceman Boult delivering his 11 wickets at an economy rate of just 2.39 runs an over. On the traditionally lively pitches at Lords and Headingley the threat they pose to England’s batsmen will be magnified by conditions more conducive to swing.

They’ll face an England batting line-up that has it’s problems finding a long term incumbent at six exacerbated by injury to number four Kevin Petersen. Yorkshire team-mates Johnny Bairstow and Joe Root have been trialled along with the likes of Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan, with inconsistent results.

Two of the aforementioned group are likely to come in for the first test and England’s middle order will be less solid than when Petersen is available given none of the aforementioned with the exception of Root have averaged more than 30 with the willow for their country in the past two years.

Whilst England’s inexperience lies in their middle order batsmen New Zealand’s lack batting experience is more general, at least as far as batting in England is concerned. Of their squad members only Ross Taylor and Brendan McCullum have managed more than Tim Southees one run in the last five years.

England have the Ashes coming up later in the season and with their visitors motivated by their third test near-miss in Auckland New Zealand are well positioned to make a fist of winning this short series. A lack of batting experience may be where they ultimately fall down making the series draw the 7/2 with Coral.