New Zealand and England seem to be producing some exhilarating cricket this year. First they were involved in that incredible tied ICC World Cup 2019 final match at Lord’s. Then, England’s tour to New Zealand commenced earlier this month with a 5-match T20I series. England won that series 3-2 with the last match going into a Super Over.
Hence, when the two-match Test series between these two sides begins from November 21st at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, there will be plenty of excitement. Both the sides are evenly matched and have tasted Test success in recent times.
New Zealand drew a series in Sri Lanka in August this year and would be carrying the confidence forward in this series. They are playing at home and are generally hard to beat there.
There are some injury concerns regarding captain Kane Williamson and the team management is hoping he would feature in the starting eleven. In the absence of Williamson, the New Zealand top-order will be fragile as opener Jeet Raval hasn’t been in great form. Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling have been inconsistent. The onus would be on Tom Latham and the experienced Ross Taylor to do the bulk of the scoring.
New Zealand’s bowling is in much better shape. Trent Boult and Tim Southee form a formidable opening pair. Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner has been in terrific form and is likely to have a significant impact in this match.
Meanwhile, England has had a quiet Test year. They were inconsistent in this year’s Ashes at home and will have to be better in testing conditions in New Zealand. Captain Joe Root (588 runs in last 10 games) would of course be England’s main batsman. He has not been in the best of touch but this pitch might suit his batting.
Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler would be crucial for the middle-order. And all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has had an extraordinary year, will have some say in the game.
England’s bowling will be led by the experienced Stuart Broad and the dynamic Jofra Archer who has been the pace sensation of the year. The wicket at Mount Maunganui will suit Archer and his certain to trouble the Kiwi batsmen with his pace and movement. Sam Curran’s good form in the T20I series will help him do well in this Test.
Match Betting Tips – New Zealand vs England, 1st Test:
This will be the first Test played at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui. The pitch for the limited overs matches here has generally been good for batting with assistance for the seam bowlers.
It will be interesting the kind of surface we get in the 1st Test between New Zealand and England. The team batting first should score in excess 350 runs. However, the seam bowlers will find help in the morning session and we can see a flurry of wickets in those sessions.
This will be a closely contest Test and is very difficult to call. However, batting in a Test match for touring sides in New Zealand straightaway isn’t an easy proposition. England will hence struggle initially and New Zealand will enjoy the home advantage. New Zealand only has a slight edge in this match – a ratio of 55:45 – and should be backed to win the Test.