Henry Nicholls batting for New Zealand against Engaldn in their 1st Test

 New Zealand vs England 2nd Test


1st Test   November 21st to 25th  New Zealand win by an Innings and 65 run

2nd Test  November 29th to December 3rd Hamilton

A very disappointing showing from England in the 1st Test. As suggested New Zealand proved to be the stronger team in home conditions and won comfortably. If it was not already clear, New Zealand showed they are currently the closest challengers to India in the Test format. England will need to improve with both bat and ball if they are to draw the series.

England will be reluctant to make any changes, preferring to give those who started in Mount Maunganui a second chance. One option would be to bring Chris Woakes in for the Stuart Broad, who went wicketless last week, but given Woakes’s underwhelming overseas record of 18 wickets in 12 Tests at 61.77 I feel this is unlikely. News has come from the England camp that Jos Buttler injured his back in the gym and is now a doubt, furthering hampering England. If Buttler is unable to play, Ollie Pope will take the gloves, and Zac Crawley could be given a debut.

New Zealand will be forced into two changes, with Trent Boult side-lined with a rib injury sustained in the 1st Test while Colin de Grandhomme is also not fit enough to be considered. Daryl Mitchell will debut while Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry are the other seam bowling options in the 15-man squad and will compete for a place in the final XI.

Possible 2nd Test Line-ups:

England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root*, Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler+, Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach

New Zealand: Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson*, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling+, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry

This represents a massive Test Match for Joe Root. Not only is the series on the line, but Root has only won 17 out of his 34 Test matches in charge and dropped out of the ICC Top Ten Test batsmen for the first time since August 2014. Many are calling for him to step down in a bid to improve his personal returns and England’s team performances, and a loss here would add weight to that argument.

Expect similar conditions for Seddon Park as we had in Mount Maunganui. Since 1991, 25 tests have been played at the venue, with New Zealand winning 12, and 7 draws. The last time the Kiwi’s lost in Hamilton was against South Africa back in 2012. The last Test played was against Bangladesh earlier this year. The home side racked up 715/6 before declaring and winning by an innings. Jeet Raval, Tom Latham and Kane Williamson all scored hundreds.

The pitch did look green two days out but expect that to be removed. It has been hot in Hamilton of late but there are some showers around over the next 5 days, resulting in the draw shortening from 4/1 to 3/1. While the Kiwis would be happy with a draw, and the series win it would bring, England’s batting looks too fragile and 13/10 on a New Zealand win with Bet365 the smart choice.

BET | New Zealand to win – 13/10 with Bet365

As Joe Root’s troubles with the bat continue, now averaging below 40 as skipper, Ben Stokes again scored runs and has been England’s best batsman in recent times. You could argue he should be favourite to top score for England in the 1st Inns, and I certainly recommend taking the 9/2 on offer with William Hill.

After his double hundred last week, BJ Watling is 8/1 to Top Bat for New Zealand with Bet 365 and William Hill which looks too short given the talent of Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls. Instead consider backing Nicholls to score over 28.5 runs in the 1st Innings at 5/6 with Ladbrokes. He has been in great form of late, passing that line in five of the last seven Tests, including a hundred and two fifties.

BET | Stuart Broad – Player Performance – Under 85.5 – 5/6 with Bet365

We recommended getting against Stuart Broad in the 1st Test, going under 90.5 for his player performance at Bet365. The same firm have moved the line down to 85.5 this time around, but it’s still an unders bet at 5/6. He went wicketless at the Bay Oval and only scored 1 run with the bat, now batting 11. There is even a small chance England play Woakes instead of Buttler, as part of a 6 man attack, reducing the number of overs he is likely to bowl.

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