England were routed in the first Test at Eden Park, losing by an innings and 49 runs having been bundled out for 58 on day one.
As was the case in the preceding Ashes series, England’s batting wasn’t up to the mark when coming up against high-class seam bowling with Trent Boult and Tim Southee running riot, taking six and four wickets respectively in the first innings.
Boult enjoyed a particularly impressive game, his three wickets in the second innings meaning he finished with figures of 9-99 in the match and he left Root battered and bruised having given him a real working over before dismissing the England captain late on day four.
Root was a number of England players to fight hard in the second innings as the visitors tried to cling on for a draw.
Root, Mark Stoneman, Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes all made fifties second time around but once again, none were able to go on and take their innings to three figures, the tourists eventually being bowled out in the final session.
Joe Root has been under immense pressure he will be desperate to make a big score in Christchurch.
The fact England were even in with a chance of drawing the game owed plenty to the heavy rainfall that washed out the majority of day three as New Zealand racked up 427-8 thanks to hundreds from Henry Nicholls and Kane Williamson.
As much as England’s battling will cause major concerns for Root and coach Trevor Bayliss, the bowling attack continues to lean heavily on James Anderson and the worry is that he might soon buckle under the strain.
Anderson was the only English bowler to average under 30 with the ball in the Ashes, his 17 wickets coming at 27.82, and he delivered more overs than any other seamer on either side.
He found support in woefully short supply, though, and was once again the pick of the bowlers in Auckland.
Stuart Broad passed 400 test wickets in the first Test – a wonderful achievement for a wonderful bowler – and he looked like he was close to recapturing his best form.
However, the rest of the attack – made up of Woakes, Craig Overton and Moeen Ali – only managed two wickets between them from 75 overs and Root needs more potency from those names if Anderson and Broad aren’t to be forced to bowl too many overs and risk being burnt out before their sell-by dates.
Mark Wood must be close to a recall on Thursday. England desperately need some variety in their attack and Wood’s skiddy trajectory and sharp pace would certainly offer that.
Mark Wood could earn a recall in the second Test. He looked a yard short of his optimum speed in the recent ODI series but even so, he is something different from the rest of the attack and deserves an opportunity, as does Somerset’s Jack Leach.
Leach has been the standout spinner in County Cricket for the last two years and he ended last season with 51 wickets at 25.78.
He impressed with the Lions this winter and while he is still some way from being the finished article, England will surely feel the temptation to go with him here.
Another option for the selectors is to pick an extra batsman, namely James Vince, but given the amount of bowling Anderson and Broad were forced to get through in the first Test, the England management will be wary of placing any extra burden on their shoulders.
While England are under pressure to finish their winter’s work with a win, New Zealand will be much more content about their recent performances having come into this series on the back of a comfortable 2-0 defeat of the West Indies in December.
As alluded to in the series preview here, the hosts have a much more settled look to them and odds of 6/4 about them completing a 2-0 series win in Christchurch seem fair.
However, given New Zealand were advised to win the series at 5/2 last week, we are happy to let that bet run and a wager in the top New Zealand first innings bowler market is preferred.
Neil Wagner wasn’t even required in the first innings in Eden Park, such was Boult and Southee’s dominance over England’s batting, but he picked up three crucial wickets in the second dig.
The aggressive left-armer has become a crucial park of this New Zealand attack, taking 39 wickets at 25.48 since the start of 2017, and his hostile approach could see him pick up enough wickets to reward backers at 7/2.
The match will be New Zealand’s Second Test, with the first ball scheduled for 3:30 am on Friday.
When: Friday March 30, 2018, 3:30 AM
Venue: Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Pitch and conditions:
Four Tests and four results at Hagley Oval, with the pitch producing a good contest between bat and ball, unless you are a spinner – they have very much played a supporting role. Late summer appears set to hang on with just a few showers currently forecast for Saturday. Bad light, however, could be an issue as the clocks go back on Sunday. Play will start half an hour earlier to reflect that.
Venue Stats TEST:
|Matches won batting first||1|
|Matches won bowling first||3|
|Average 1st Inns scores||308|
|Average 2nd Inns scores||299|
|Average 3rd Inns scores||271|
|Average 4th Inns scores||131|
|Highest total recorded||505/10 (153.1 Ov) by Aus vs NZ|
|Lowest total recorded||133/10 (55.5 Ov) by Pak vs NZ|
Test Matches Head-to-Head Results(Played Anywhere)
Total Series : 36
New Zealand Won : 4
England Won : 23
Drawn : 9
Test Matches Head-to-Head Results(Played at Newzealand)
Total Series : 19
New Zealand Won : 2
England Won : 10
Drawn : 7
Latest Test Match Head to Head Results
New Zealand won by an innings and 49 runs
England 58 & 320
New Zealand 427/8d
New Zealand vs England 2018 Eden Park, Auckland
New Zealand won by 199 runs (Series drawn 1-1)
England 350 & 255 108.2 & 91.5
New Zealand 350 & 454/8d 72.1 & 91
England v New Zealand 2015 Headingley, Leeds
England won by 124 runs
England 389 & 478 100.5 & 129
New Zealand 523 & 220 131.2 & 67.3
England v New Zealand 2015 Lord’s, London
England won by 247 runs (England won the series 2-0)
England 354 & 287/5d 99 & 76
New Zealand 174 & 220 43.4 & 76.3
England v New Zealand 2013
Kane Williamson confirmed the playing XI ahead of the Test
Ish Sodhi replaces the injured Todd Astle.
A miserable winter has cost Moeen a place in the side for the first time in his career.
Leach, Somerset’s uncapped spinner, is likely replace him if England decide to go in for one spin option.
One of Vince and Wood would also feature in the eleven.
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling(w), Colin de Grandhomme, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry
England: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Joe Root(c), Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow(w), Craig Overton, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, James Anderson,Jack Leach, James Vince
Kane Williamson confirmed the playing XI ahead of the Test
New Zealand Playign 11 : 1 Jeet Raval, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 BJ Watling (wk), 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Ish Sodhi, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Trent Boult.
England probable11 : 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Mark Stoneman, 3 James Vince, 4 Joe Root, 5 Dawid Malan, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8 Craig Overton/Jack Leach, 9 Mark Wood, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson.
Colin de Grandhomme
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT