Who will win the first England vs New Zealand Test?
England begin their Test summer with a two-match series against New Zealand, with the first of those games taking place at the home of cricket, Lord’s, from June 2. Both teams come into the series with entirely different agendas, which should make for fascinating viewing.
The home side will look to put behind the scars inflicted by their humiliating 3-1 series loss to India earlier this year. With England back in home conditions, they will look to prove their mettle against New Zealand and India over the next few months.
With most of their Test regulars rested, England have a relatively inexperienced squad to choose from. Giving youngsters chances will be a priority for Chris Silverwood as England look to finalize their squad ahead of the all-important Ashes later this year.
For New Zealand, it is all about finding the rhythm in the build-up to the World Test Championship later this month. The two Tests offer the Blackcaps a perfect chance to get used to the conditions, and a strong showing against England in their backyard could do their confidence a world of good.
England have a solid record when it comes to home Tests against New Zealand. They have won 30 out of a total of 54 such games played against the Blackcaps, and have only lost five Tests at home.
But it was New Zealand who emerged victorious the last time these two sides squared off in red-ball cricket, the Blackcaps winning the two-match home series 1-0 in 2019.
England vs New Zealand Match Prediction
England have an array of options to choose from and we are likely to see several new faces take the field on Wednesday. One of them will surely be James Bracey, with the debutant set to take the gloves too after Ben Foakes’ freak hamstring injury.
There is a fight for the opening slots too, with Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley and Rory Burns contesting for the two positions. The trio had a disastrous India series and it may be Dominic Sibley who misses out with the opener having only recently come back from injury.
England will have some calls to make in the bowling department too. While rotation has been the hallmark of this side, it is likely we will see Stuart Broad and James Anderson together at Lord’s. The duo has a combined 126 Test wickets against New Zealand and will no doubt be raring to go for the series opener.
Olly Stone may take up the third seamer slot, but he will get tough competition from both Mark Wood and Craig Overton.
As for New Zealand, they come into the game with a settled outfit. Only a couple of changes may be made from their usual eleven.
Devon Conway hasn’t played Test cricket, but the in-form batsman had a solid outing during New Zealand’s intra-squad game. He should slot in at the top and open with Tom Latham. A solid showing from Devon Conway could get him in contention for the World Test Championship final berth as well.
The rest of the side will be full of the usual suspects. The only position in doubt seems to be no.7, with Darryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme the two candidates. An impressive performance in the intra-squad game for the latter may just work in his favor.
All eyes will also be on how Kane Williamson adjusts to the conditions. The affable skipper averages just 30.87 in England, way down on his overall average of 54.31. With the WTC final on the horizon, Kane Williamson will look to spend as much time at the crease as possible.
The weather may play a spoilsport for the first Test, with overcast conditions and possible rain predicted.
The match seems too close to call. New Zealand are the team in form, and look the stronger side on paper. England have home advantage, despite their inexperienced line-up. The home side best know how to deal with the Dukes ball, and that makes them slight favorites for the encounter.
Prediction: England to win