NZ vs ENG, 2nd Test, Preview: In-form hosts look to stretch England’s wretched run in away Tests
Joe Root will have to lead from the front to avert yet another series loss for England.
Updated - Mar 29, 2018 4:57 pm
While a lot has happened off the field in the cricketing world since last week, it is somewhat comforting to come back to the real action. Most of the fans would be eager to witness the way Australia performs after the trio of Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David Warner were banned by Cricket Australia. But the second and final Test between England and New Zealand should be no less than a thriller after the hosts romped home in the first game. However, the visitors will have to play their best cricket in recent times to trump the high-flying Kiwis.
New Zealand have been in great form in whites at home and they showed their capability in the opening game of the series. It was some hostile bowling from Trent Boult and Tim Southee which blew the hosts away in the first session of the match itself. Even the skipper Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls came to the party with the bat as the things are looking really good for the home side as they would be eyeing yet another series victory in front of their home crowd.
England, on the other hand, have more questions to face for themselves. The team is significantly under performing and though the incident in Cape Town took all the attention away from their hapless batting show in Auckland, they have to address them soon. They are winless in last 12 Tests away from home, and should they fail to win in Christchurch as well, it would be their worst ever run of form in away matches in the longest format of the game.
What they said?
Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach, believed that this is a great opportunity for his players to win the series and they will have to play their best cricket. “This is a huge opportunity, you don’t go in thinking about drawing it. It’s been a big series, we’ve been planning for the last six months and need to make sure we use the next few days wisely,” he said.
Joe Root, however, believed that the team needs to improve in all aspects of the game and hoped that they do the same in the next Test. “We’re always looking to find ways of improving as a group. It’s not for lack of trying. We’ve got to make sure we continue that work ethic and continue to look to improve. The first opportunity to do that is this next (Test),” he said.
Todd Astle was ruled out of the game owing to the side injury he sustained and Ish Sodhi is likely to replace him in the playing XI. In case, the team management opts for an extra seamer, Matt Henry should get a look in. The team looks perfectly settled apart from that and no more changes are expected in the line-up. The team management would be hoping that the high on confidence team makes it 2-0 against the visitors.
Probable XI: Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling(w), Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult
England coach Trevor Bayliss has already hinted at wholesale changes in the team after a dismal performance in the first Test. Moeen Ali might be dropped from the team to be replaced by Jack Leach, the off-spinner. Also Mark Wood might get a look in ahead of Craig Overton along with James Vince who was dropped following a poor Ashes outing. The batsmen have to deliver the goods and give some chance to the bowlers who were decent with the pink ball in the last week.
Probable XI: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Joe Root(c), Dawid Malan/James Vince, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow(w), Craig Overton, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Jack Leach
Head to Head
Played- 102, England- 48 New Zealand- 10 Draw- 44
Player to watch out for
Jeet Raval (New Zealand)
Jeet Raval is the one player who is known to do well every time he steps down on the field. He would be gutted after missing out in Auckland but would be eyeing a significant score in the final Test match. A good start to the innings would surely help the hosts in order to set the platform for a huge score. A big score against one of the brilliant bowling attacks should do a world of good to his confidence.
Joe Root (England)
England skipper has to make it a habit for himself to convert his half-centuries into big ones. He is becoming guilty of throwing his quality knocks which are absolutely pleasing to eyes. This England line-up banks on him a lot and once he starts scoring big, it will be an altogether different side. The Test match is Christchurch is the best moment to start with that as a victory will also give him more confidence as a captain.
1984: New Zealand’s lone Test series win against England at home came in 1984. They will need at least draw in the 2nd Test to win this series.
Match Timings: 3.30 AM IST
TV- Star Sports