Test cricket is back! It might not be the Aussies in action, but it’s the next best thing as England host New Zealand in a two Test series in the lead up to the Kiwis facing India in the World Test Championship Final in a few weeks’ time.
It’s set to be a thrilling series as two of the best teams in the world go at it and we will have you covered with a full preview and betting tips for both matches as well as the Test Championship Final throughout June.
Lord’s Cricket Ground, Wednesday 2nd June 8.00pm (AEST)
England Squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Sam Billings+, James Bracey+, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes+, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Mark Wood
New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell+, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Devon Conway+, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham+, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling+, Will Young
It’s a long awaited return to England for the Kiwis, not having travelled there for a Test series since all the way back in 2015. There was, of course, that unforgettable trip to the UK for the Cricket World Cup a few years ago, in which these two teams faced off in without doubt the most thrilling final of all time, won by the English. NZ will be desperate to get one back on their newest rival in this two match Test series before the big Test Championship Final against India later this month.
The Kiwis were successful in their last Test in England, winning by 199 runs in the 2nd match of their 2015 series to snap a nine game winless streak in the UK. Although it was six years ago, New Zealand will actually field a pretty similar looking line-up this time around, with the likes of Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Tim Southee and Trent Boult all playing in that game back in 2015.
The Kiwis have had a brilliant run over the last year, which has resulted in them qualifying for the Test Championship Final. They have won their last six Tests in a row, two each over India, the West Indies and Pakistan all at home. Their form on the road, however, hasn’t been as solid. They have lost eight of their last nine games away from New Zealand, most recently a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of Australia in the summer of 2020.
On the contrary, England is one of the fiercest teams in the world when they are at home. Their fast bowlers absolutely thrive in the swing friendly conditions, resulting in them having lost just 4 of their last 18 Tests on home soil. It will be a welcome return to the home of cricket for the English, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to play their last six Tests at either The Rose Bowl or Old Trafford. They have not played a game at Lord’s since their draw with Australia in the 2019 Ashes.
This game and this series will likely be defined by the battle between the English bowlers and the New Zealand batsmen. The Kiwis resurgence over the last year has been led by their batting line-up, which currently boasts four of the top 20 rated Test batsmen in the world and the No.1 overall in captain Kane Williamson. Williamson averages just 30.88 in England though, which is well below his career average of 54.31.
Compare the contrast in Williamson’s batting average in England to the contrast in the English bowlers average at home and it’s evident where these games will be won or lost. James Anderson averages 30.86 on the road and 23.84 at home with the ball while his spearhead partner Stuart Broad averages 31.67 on the road and 25.54 at home.
There is definitely scenarios in which New Zealand can win this game and series, and the toss of the 1st Test will be a big factor. However, I think that based on form alone, it’s hard to look past the English here in their first Test back at the home of cricket since 2019.
Here’s one that I really like in terms of prop bets. ‘A Wicket-Keeper to take a catch in all four inning of the match’. At $2.00, I think this represents pretty good value considering how much the Duke ball swings in England. Take the last Test that wasn’t affected by rain in England for example. When they played Pakistan in the first of three Tests in 2020, there were 7 total catches taken by wicket-keepers, and easily one in each innings. There is a little rain forecast for Day 4 of this Test, but not enough to affect the result or the teams’ ability to get the match finished.
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