New Zealand vs England: 2nd Test, Preview – Depleted Kiwis still the favourites to topple Joe Root's men

New Zealand vs England: 2nd Test, Preview – Depleted Kiwis still the favourites to topple Joe Root’s men

New Zealand will miss the services of Boult and De Grandhomme in this Test.

New Zealand
New Zealand. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

There is all this discussion surrounding the World Test Championship. There has been a controversy revolving around Jofra Archer’s racism incident. But both New Zealand and England seemed to have moved on as their sole focus is now on the second Test of the series in Hamilton. On it’s Test debut, the Bay Oval produced a good, sporting track. But the external conditions had quite a say on the result of the game. Nevertheless, the Kiwis managed to thump the Brits with an innings and 65 runs victory.

Once again at Seddon Park, the hosts will look to continue with their dominance. Their batsmen have done a fabulous job in the series opener. And the bowlers, as usual, were on the top of their game. While everything seemed fine about the performance in the first Test, they still have a few issues ahead of the second game. With a couple of players ruled out, two forced changes are called for. Given the difference these two players make for the side, it’d be a little concerning.

On the other hand, England has left several questions unanswered. The batsmen couldn’t sustain the tough Kiwi bowling attack. The bowlers neither could cling on the crucial moments in the game and allowed it to drift away. At this stage, it is important for them to realise that they are a good side and they should rather focus on their strengths. A little better application could possibly work wonders for them and self-belief is the best way to move forward. The team would surely love to rise from the ‘Ashes’ once again.

Team Combinations

New Zealand

As mentioned earlier, New Zealand will have two forced changes to make. Trent Boult, the leader of the bowling attack, couldn’t bowl more than one over on the final day of the first Test. He strained one of his muscles overlying his ribs on his right-hand side and won’t be able to take part in this game.

In his place, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson will be eyeing for a spot in the eleven. The former is more likely to make the final cut and the latter will have to wait further for his debut. Also, Colin de Grandhomme is out due to a tear to his left lower abdominal muscle. Daryl Mitchell has been called up and he could well be making his Test debut.

Predicted XI: Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, BJ Watling (wk), Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry/Lockie Ferguson.

England

There are some good players warming the bench for England. Maybe, there could be a few talks about Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes coming back into the eleven. However, it seems quite tough to accommodate these players. Ollie Pope looked alright in the first game and might get another chance.

However, with Jos Buttler hurting his back in the gym, Pope might well take up the gloves if the former is ruled out. In that case, Zak Crawley is likely to make his Test debut while Chris Woakes can also make a comeback.

Predicted XI: Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (C), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk)/Zak Crawley/Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad.

Focus will be on

Neil Wagner (New Zealand)

Neil Wagner has done quite well in the Tests he played this year. In six innings, he picked up 24 wickets including 8 in the first Test of this series. Now, with Trent Boult ruled out, he has got this additional responsibility on him. The left-arm pacer would want to continue with the good performance and impress once again. There will be a lot of eyes observing him keenly as to how he goes about his business in this crucial second Test.

Joe Root (England)

England skipper Joe Root hasn’t had a great year so far in the longest format. He has seemed to be quite inconsistent with his performance. The 28-year-old failed terribly in helping bail his team out of tough situations in the last match. While he got out for 2 runs in the first innings, he could only score 11 in the second. There is a lot of obvious focus on him and England fans will be hoping that he comes good in the second game. Root has got to apply himself better and shouldn’t look to play those loose shots.

Head to Head

Matches – 103:  England won – 48 | New Zealand won – 11 | Draw – 45

Stat Attack

136 – Ross Taylor is just 136 runs away from becoming only the second New Zealand player to score 7,000 Test runs.

Broadcast Details

TV- Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select 1 HD

Live Streaming- Hotstar

Match timings-  11:00 AM local time, 3:30 AM IST