The Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham is all set to host the second and final Test of the two-match series between England and New Zealand, starting from Thursday (June 10).
The series opener was ended in a draw after the hosts did not show enough intent to chase down the target of 273 in 75 overs on the last day of the match. Many experts criticised England’s approach, while some backed the Joe Root-led side for not taking any risk with a relatively young side.
Ahead of the second Test, the visitors have received a major blow as their regular skipper Kane Williamson has been ruled out due to an elbow injury.
The track at Edgbaston is expected to be flat but will carry decent bounce, so seam bowlers can take some advantage. The last two days will become ideal for spinners, therefore, fans may see at least one spinner from both sides in the final XI.
Head to Head record:
Matches played: 106 | England: 48 | New Zealand: 11 | Draw: 47 | Tied: 0
Olly Stone is expected to feature in the playing XI of England in place of Ollie Robbinson, who has been suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for his old racist tweets. However, it would be interesting to see if England opt for a rotation policy and rest either James Anderson or Stuart Broad. Considering that the first Test has been drawn and England would look to win the final match, the absence of either of the veteran bowlers is unlikely to happen.
ENG XI: Joe Root (c), Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Dan Lawrence, James Bracey (wk), Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Jack Leach, Olly Stone.
Since Williamson is set to miss the second Test, opening batsman Tom Latham will lead the Kiwis. Frontline bowler Trent Boult is likely to play the game as Williamson himself gave hints after the first Test that Boult is fit and ready to play the next fixture.
If Boult comes in, then Tim Southee could be rested. Mitchell Santner is also injured, and another spinner, Ajaz Patel, might fill his spot.
NZ XI: Tom Latham (c), Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Will Young, Ross Taylor, Kyle Jamieson, BJ Watling, Colin De Grandhomme.