Time: June 2, 3:30 PM IST
Venue: Lord’s, London
As often is the case during the English summer, we will witness clouds hovering over the venue and a film of grass growing on the pitch. However, the cloud cover is expected to be limited on all five days and the grass has been cut shorter than usual. Of course there will be swing on offer, but runs won’t be difficult to collect. Expect an even contest between the bat and ball.
England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Dan Lawrence, James Bracey (wk), Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Tom Blundell/Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Daryl Mitchell/Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on recent performances, impact, and credit points.
Players to watch out for
Let’s start off with the superstar of the match: Kyle Jamieson. He has played 6 matches, taken 36 wickets at 13.2, and won all the matches. Although all these games came at home, the conditions in England won’t hamper his style of bowling. For that matter, he will be even more lethal when the clouds overshadow the Lord’s and the ball starts to move ferociously.
Joe Root has been in fine form since 2019. On the tour of New Zealand, he hit a magnificent double-hundred. This year he has already scored two double-hundreds and a hundred in the subcontinent.
Kane Williamson ranks No. 1 in ICC Test Rankings for batters. His last 4 scores read 251, 129, 21, and 238. In addition, he has an impressive record against England, scoring 3 hundreds and 2 fifties in 11 Tests.
Neil Wagner was the highest wicket-taker on England’s tour of New Zealand in 2019, sniping up 13 wickets at 19.8 in 2 games. More importantly, pitch reports don’t matter to him. He has brilliant numbers across various conditions. He manages to find wickets even when the wicket is a belter for the batters.
All eyes will be on the champion duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad. England’s rotation policy was rightly criticised after the India tour and hence the think tank won’t risk keeping the pair apart. They have 1,031 Test wickets between them.
BJ Watling has a brilliant record against England: in 10 games, he has scored 778 runs at 56 including the highest score of 205. He’s a typical Test player, and making him play a false stroke can be an annoying duty.
England are a bit thin on experience in the batting line-up. Ben Stokes is injured and Jos Buttler has been rested. Their second-most experienced batter is Rory Burns with 23 games. Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley have been good but in bits and pieces. If there’s a player to watch out for, it will be Ollie Pope: he scored 245 and 131 in the ongoing County season. On the other hand, New Zealand are playing their full strength. Their only dilemma is whether to play Tom Blundell or Devon Convoy.
To make matters worse for England, they don’t have a game-changing all-rounder in their armoury. The absence of Stokes, Sam Curran, and Chris Woakes is likely to hurt them.
Although England have the home advantage, New Zealand are well ahead in the race. The visitors look all set to continue their winning momentum.