England vs New Zealand, 1st Test: Preview & Fantasy XI
England will lock horns with New Zealand in a three-match Test series, the first of which would commence on June 2. It would be Ben Stokes' first assignment as a full-time Test captain for England. For the visitors, Kane Williamson marks his return to the whites, having last played a Test in December 2021. Here is the complete preview.
The Lord's in London will host this Test. The match will be telecast live on Sony Sports Network (3:30 PM IST) and live-streamed on the Sony LIV app. Bowlers will get the early movement off the wicket. Batters have known to struggle so they should stay put before freeing up their arms. Rain could spoil some sessions on the third and fourth days.
The duo of Stokes and a newly appointed Test coach in Brendon McCullum would have to fend off England's poor run of form in red-ball. Joe Root, now freed from the captaincy burden, will look to extend his sublime run with the willow. Not to forget, the experienced duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad would be raring to run down the Kiwi line-up.
Durham pacer Matthew Potts would be making his Test debut at Lord's. He has been given the nod over Craig Overton. Potts is an exciting prospect for England, having clipped 35 wickets in this year's County Championship at 18.57.
Kane Williamson led New Zealand to a 1-0 series triumph in England prior to the ICC World Test Championship final. Top-order batter Devon Conway was the highest run-getter in the series, racking up 306 runs at 76.50. Southee and Wagner had picked seven scalps each in the series. Overall, NZ have won only 12 Tests against England and lost on 48 occasions (47 draws).
Williamson's addition bolsters their Test line-up given it looked shaky in the last few Test series. Conway and Tom Latham can't afford to come short, given their performance dictates the game in NZ's favor. Experienced seamers in Southee and Wagner would be looking to emulate their previous heroics. If there's a bit of spin then one can anticipate Ajaz Patel to do the honors.
England (playing XI): Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Foakes (wk), Ben Stokes (c), Matthew Potts, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson. New Zealand (probable XI): Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (c), Will Young, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Blundell (wk), Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel.
Joe Root has hammered a mammoth 1,175 runs in the ongoing World Test Championship. He has slammed five hundreds and four fifties. James Anderson has clipped 402 scalps in 95 Tests at home. In four Tests in WTC 2021-23, Devon Conway has compiled 388 runs at 64.66. Tim Southee has claimed 57 wickets in 15 Tests against England. He has four five-fers.
Fantasy XI (option 1): Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Devon Conway, Tom Latham, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, James Anderson, Stuart Broad. Fantasy XI (option 2): Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Devon Conway, Zak Crawley, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, James Anderson, Stuart Broad.