Venue: Seddon Park, Hamilton
Date: Friday, November 29 – Tuesday, December 3, 2019
England had high hopes going into the first Test at the Bay Oval but their performance was way below the level most expected. After winning the toss and electing to bat on a faourable wicket, England put up a respectable 363 after 124 overs with Ben Stokes top scoring with 91. While England batted well, New Zealand simply battered the England bowlers as they finished 615/9 declared after 201 overs in reply. Time Southee was the only England bowler doing any damager – he was 4/88 – while BJ Watling top-scored with an almighty 205 off of 473 balls.
England then needed another big batting performance, but they were quickly undone as they managed just 197 in 96.2 overs. Joe Denly scored 35, but it was never going to be close to enough as the Black Caps won by an innings and 65 runs in a dominant and measured performance with both bat and ball.
This is a big Test for England and – especially – for captain Joe Root. Root had his lowest two innings score ever in a Test with the bat and he is averaging under 30 runs per innings in 2019. Questions are surrounding his leadership ability and how the position of captain might be too big for him to get the most out of his batting talent, so expect a big answer from the England captain here.
England may well be unchanged for this match. Look for Jofra Archer to bounce back after the racial abuse he suffered late in the first Test. If any changes do happen it might be the inclusion of bowler Sabiq Mahmood who has continually looked great in training. Also, keep an eye on Zak Crawley if England want to spring a major surprise inclusion on the Black Caps.
The big news for New Zealand is that a couple of their key pieces will be missing the second Test due to injury. Fast-bowler Trent Boult took just one over of the first Test at Mount Maunganui before having to sit out the rest of his overs due to what has been determined as a strain of one of his rib muscles. De Grandhomme also has a muscle injury picked up in the first Test, with his being n torn abdominal muscle – which sounds horrible – that was caused while fielding.
The Black Caps have called up all-rounder Daryl Michell as cover for de Grandhoome, while both Lockie Ferguson and Todd Astle are back in the squad after initially being released to play in the Ford Trophy for their domestic sides. The lineup will need to be reshuffled and the right options will be crucial.
It is hard to pick a winner here, which is why the market is so tight on BetXchange. It wouldn’t be a shock at all to see these two sides play to a draw (2.60), especially given the wicket conditions. One other bet that is worth mentioning is that without James Anderson the England bowling attack has suffered. Expect to see more from Archer this time out as he claims the best bowler prize at 2.50.