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Crucial Series For New Zealand
This series, in the grand scheme of things, is of little importance as far as records are concerned. It doesn’t count toward the World Test Championship, and therefore the hosts have decided to use this opportunity to rest some of their key players and give the younger generation a chance to impress.
The Kiwis will be taking this seriously and will be viewing it as an opportunity to build some momentum before they face India in the WTC final in two weeks’ time.
Key Players Rested For England
All eight England players who featured in this year’s shortened IPL are rested for this one, and aside from the obvious cases with Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, it seems a bit of a strange decision, particularly with how long ago the IPL was suspended.
That leaves the hosts slightly short in some departments, not least in the middle order where the absence of both Stokes and Sam Curran, and means there is little balance between the top order and the bowling attack at the rear.
Dom Sibley, Ollie Pope and Zak Crawley have all proved in recent times that they have the ability to take it to any side, though consistency is a slight issue and the fate of this game will rest largely in the hands of Joe Root in what is otherwise an extremely inexperienced batting line up.
That said, even without Jofra Archer this is still a formidable bowling attack, as Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Mark Wood are a menacing prospect to face for any side, and if they’re on song this could be an exceedingly difficult few days for the visitors.
New Zealand To Beat England
If any side have the batting prowess to be able to cope with them, though, it’s New Zealand. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor will be key for them here, though the latter hasn’t been in the best test form scoring just one half century in his last 13 test innings going back to December 2019, and he’s averaged just 29.17 at Lord’s in his career.
Williamson, however, is in tremendous form with three centuries in his last four innings at an average of 159.75, while he has a century and a 50 in his four innings at this ground, so he’ll be looking to pick up where he left off.
England don’t have as good of a recent record at this ground as you might expect, going W5-D3-L4 here since the beginning of 2014 and while the Kiwis haven’t won here in four attempts since the turn of the century, they’re a different outfit now and with a near second string side, we’re surprised to see the hosts as short as they are.