Test cricket was back last month with SL defeating Bangladesh in a thriller and entire summer has plenty of exciting Tests scheduled in this WTC Cycle. "A new look" England is set to take on NZ in a 3 match Test series at home. England have been handed 3 consecutive series defeats in last 3 years. The WTC champions are currently 6th on the points table. They had a promising start in this cycle with a well fought draw in Kanpur but lost the series 1-0. Bangladesh created history by winning their 1st ever test in NZ and SA maintained their record of not losing a series to NZ in whites. The problems don't end here for the Kiwis. Henry Nicholls is set to miss the 1st test test and Kane Williamson has been battling an injured elbow.
Ashes loss was a saturating point. England’s head coach, batting and bowling coach, ECB’s managing director, their Chairman, everyone resigned and it was common knowledge that Root’s days as England’s captain were numbered and a series loss in West Indies put a final stamp on his exit. "The red ball reset" did not work out in favour of Eng as the rot runs much deeper and dropping your 2 most experienced bowlers was the last solution. Broad and Anderson are back, Ollie Pope is your new no 3 and the new skipper has demoted himself to 6. Engs pace battery has been crippled with injuries. Jofra Archer has been ruled out of the summer, Robinson, Wood, Stone, Woakes all are unavailable for this series. Matthew Potts will be making his Test debut
Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (C), Ben Foakes (WK), Matthew Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson
Will Young, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (C), Devon Conway, Tom Blundell (WK), Daryl Mitchell, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel
Total matches - 141
Matches won batting first - 51
Matches won bowling first - 39
Average 1st Inns scores - 313
Average 2nd Inns scores - 298
Average 3rd Inns scores - 257
Average 4th Inns scores - 154
Highest total recorded - 729/6 (232 Ov) by AUS vs ENG
Lowest total recorded - 38/10 (15.4 Ov) by IRE vs ENG
Head to Head
Overall: Eng leads 48 - 12
At home: Eng leads 30 - 6
Last 3 test series: NZ won 1-0, 1-0, 1-0
Root v Southee: 180/5
Root v Wagner: 194/4
Bairstow v Southee: 43/4
Bairstow v Wagner: 80/1
Stokes v Southee: 159/3
Williamson v Broad: 156/4
Williamson v Anderson: 134/7
Latham v Broad: 118/8
Latham v Anderson: 103/0
( last 3 tests)
Root: 289 runs at 48.17 avg
Stokes: 194 runs at 32.22 avg
Crawley: 184 runs at 30.67 avg
Bairstow: 226 runs at 45.20 avg
Latham: 268 runs at 67 avg
Conway: 253 runs at 63.25 avg
Blundell: 203 runs at 67.66 avg
Grandhomme: 183 runs at 91.5 avg
Key Players & Fantasy Picks
Captain / Vice Captain
Joe Root: The ICC test cricketer of the year had one of the greatest calender years a batter could wish for. He ammassed 2066 runs since 2021 with an average of 54.36 and breaking the all-time record of Sir Vivian Richards with most top-scores for the team in a calendar year. What makes his achievement even more special is the 2nd highest run scorer in the side was Rory Burns with 550 odd runs. There was a staggering difference between the 1st and the 2nd best batter.
Devon Conway: Since his debut, Conway has set the international stage on fire in all 3 formats as well as in the recently held IPL. He made his debut on the same venue last year and scored a scintillating 200. He averages 63 in test cricket so far with 3 100s.
Tim Southee: Since the start of 2017, Tim Southee has taken 148 wickets at an average of 23 and since the start of 2020, he has taken 68 wickets in 14 test. Southee has a good record in Eng with 32 wkts at an avg of 27 and can run through any batting line up on his day.
(Fantasy rating - 8/8.5 points )
Kyle Jameison: He had a dream start to his test career where he scalped 46 wkts in his first 8 test matches. Since then he went through a dry patch against Bangladesh at home but was back among wkts against SA. He is also very good with the bat down the order.
Ben Stokes: He was Eng's best bowler in the Carribean and bowled marathon spells in almost every innings. Cricviz rated those pitches as the 2nd most batting friendly wkts in WI since 2005. With a new added responsibility and a good outing in County, we could see Stokes 2.0 from this series.