The iconic Lords Cricket Ground in London is set to host the first Test of the two-match series between England and New Zealand starting on Wednesday (June 02). As the red-ball format returns to the ‘Home of Cricket’, the officials have done all preparations to welcome the spectators back for the first time since the 2019 Ashes.
Ahead of the opening game, both England and New Zealand have confirmed that they will field at least one debutant. While the Joe Root-led side will feature James Bracey, who fulfils the wicketkeeper’s role in the absence of recently injured Ben Foakes, South African born left-hander Devon Conway shall make his Test debut for the Kiwis.
The English side will be eyeing for a better performance to start their home summer positively. After this series, England will host India for the five-match leg and then travel to Australia for 2021-22 Ashes later this year. Similarly, Kane Williamson and Co. would take this two-match red-ball battle as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming World Test Championship (WTC) final against Virat Kohli’s India.
Generally, the track at Lords assist bowlers, and both teams consist of some top-quality bowling attack. However, the weather forecast suggests that the coming days might be warm and sunny, and if this happens, then batters shall be able to take some advantage.
Head to Head record:
Matches played: 105 | England: 48 | New Zealand: 11 | Draw: 46 | Tied: 0
England will be without some of their premier players like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Jonny Bairstow, who are either injured or have given rest for the upcoming 5-match series against India. But James Anderson, Stuart Broad and skipper Joe Root will be available along with some other aspiring talents. The position of Jack Leach will only depend on the conditions, and if he doesn’t get a place, then Ollie Robinson might feature in the playing XI.
ENG XI: Joe Root (c), Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Dan Lawrence, James Bracey, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Ollie Robinson/Jack Leach.
New Zealand will miss the services of their frontline bowler Trent Boult, who has taken a rest to spend time with his family. Senior pacer Tim Southee will lead the bowling attack featuring the likes of Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner. There could be a toss-up between Colin de Grandhomme and Daryl Mitchel, and a similar case could be seen between Mitchell Santner and Matt Henry.
NZ XI: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Colin de Grandhomme/Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner/Matt Henry.