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|Colin de Grandhomme||24.0||10||40||0||1.67|
|Colin de Grandhomme||29||39||5||1||74.36|
After winning the ODI series against hosts New Zealand, team England is ready to face the Kiwis in a 2-match Test series beginning with the 1st Test at Auckland from 22nd March. The match, which is to be a day-night one, holds great significance for England as the players hope to do better here than the Ashes; some of the English players’ will be playing for their futures and we could see a much more determined show after their recent success on the tour. Kiwis, on the other hand, will be more comfortable under the Auckland lights and could dominate here to avenge their ODI defeat.
Kane Williamson will lead the side that consists of batsmen like Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Todd Astle, Jeet Raval, the in-form Ross Taylor, who did very well in the ODIs, Watling, who might perform the wicket-keeping duties as well, and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme. Ross Taylor, who had suffered injury during the 4th ODI wherein his unbeaten 181 helped them level the ODI series but had to sit out in the 5th match, is back in the squad and is expected to come out all guns blazing here. However, Martin Guptill has been called in for Taylor’s cover in case he isn’t fit to play on the match-day. He scored a steady 73-runs knock against England XI in the warm-up match.
Todd Astle, the legspinner, will lead the spin attack in the absence of Mitchell Santner; Astle, Colin de Grandhomme and Watling will steady the middle-order as well with the bat. The pace attack has Neil Wagner, Trent Boult and Tim Southee bringing in solid experience while Matt Henry could add depth to the squad as and when needed.
While the short boundaries of Eden Park could be worrysome for some bowlers, Neil Wagner enjoys playing at this ground. In the two matches he’s played here, he’s picked up 11 wickets at an average of a little over 20.
New Zealand will try various combinations to achieve a steady middle-order while keeping a balanced bowling attack against the visitors, and we could see a rejuvenated side playing with its best abilities here. Williamson will be missing one of his key bowlers Santner, but Astle, Grandhomme and the pace-trio could keep the English batsmen in check to help the hosts dominate next week.
Predicted Playing XI: Jeet Raval – Tom Latham – Kane Williamson (c) – Ross Taylor – Ben Watling (wk) – Henry Nicholls – Colin de Grandhomme – Todd Astle – Tim Southee – Trent Boult – Neil Wagner.
Jeet Raval, TWM Latham, KS Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, TD Astle, TG Southee, N Wagner, TA Boult.
They had put up a dismal show against the Aussies in the test series at the beginning of their tour but hope to make an impressive comeback against the Kiwis here. Joe Root will don the captain’s hat and his recent form with the bat shows he could lead from the front. Alastair Cook, with 12,000 runs in test cricket, has a good record to be proud of; his double-century in Melbourne was the highlight for the team in recent times, and he could do the talking with the bat in the upcoming match. The batting line-up has players like Mark Stoneman and James Vince, both of whom had a disappointing Ashes series.
Ben Stokes’ back injury remains a concern for the visitors due to the uncertainity with his bowling. We might see James Vince losing his place to Stokes if he’s played as a specialist batsman.
Others in the squad include batsmen Jonny Bairstow, all-rounder Moeen Ali, Dawid Malan and Ben Foakes. The pace attack has vice-captain James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Craig Overton, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes, who could stifle the hosts with their variations. The spin attack has all-rounders like Moeen Ali, Joe Root, youngsters like Mason Crane and Liam Livingstone.
England has been preparing well ahead of the Auckland test and with growing confidence with the bat, they are expected to cause some hiccups for the hosts in the upcoming tests.
Predicted Playing XI: Alastair Cook – Mark Stoneman – Joe Root (c) – Dawid Malan – Ben Stokes – Jonny Bairstow (wk) – Moeen Ali – Stuart Broad – Chris Woakes – James Anderson – Mason Crane.
Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, JE Root, Dawid Malan, BA Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, CR Woakes, Craig Overton, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
As the pitch tends to get slower and it might be tough to bat on day four and five, captains are expected to win the toss and bat first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Eden Park is going to host the first ever Pink-ball test in New Zealand. The ground features a drop-in pitch which tends to get slower as the match goes on. The spread has been fairly even with 13 matches won batting first and 12 while batting second.
New Zealand may play Martin Guptill to strenghthen the middle-order if Ross Taylor isn’t fit enough to play. England also has a lot to prove here in the longer format of the game. Ben Stokes’ fitness and his whether he is able to bowl to full capacity affects the balance of the side. New Zealand have a rather settled middle-order with Williamson, Taylor, and Watling in the mix. England, on the other hand, will pe pondering over the balance after their performance in the Ashes. The match could be a tough fight between the two sides, but we feel that New Zealand with the home advantage is better placed to emerge victorious.
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