NZ vs ENG, 1st Test: Preview, stats, and Fantasy XI
New Zealand are gearing up to host England in the opener of the two-match Test series, starting February 16. Though the Brits have emerged as a formidable force in Tests, upsetting the Kiwis at home would require some beating. Meanwhile, the opening contest will be a Day-Night affair. Hence, the pink cherry will be in action. Here is the preview of the opener.
Pitch report, timing, and broadcast details
The Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui will host this duel. Three Tests have been played at this venue with the side bowling first emerging winners twice. While batters tend to dominate an initial couple of days here, pacers become lethal in the latter half. The match will be telecast live on Sony Sports Network (6:30 AM IST) and live-streamed on SonyLiv (paid subscription).
A look at the head-to-head record
England have a massive lead over NZ as far as the head-to-head record is concerned. The two sides have clashed in 110 Tests so far, with England winning 51. NZ have emerged winners on just 12 occasions (47 draws). Last year, England rooted the Kiwis 3-0 at home. Meanwhile, NZ thumped England by an innings in the only D/N Test between these two sides.
Can England extend their dominance?
England's Test head coach Brendon McCullum is well-versed with the conditions in New Zealand. However, the visitors have unpleasant memories from their only previous D/N Test in NZ in 2018. The Brits were folded for 58 in their first innings and subsequently suffered a humiliating defeat. As several potent fast bowlers will be in action, batters of both camps might endure a hard time.
A look at the Probable XI of both sides:
New Zealand (Probable XI): Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (Wicket-keeper), Michael Bracewell, Tim Southee (Captain), Neil Wagner, Jacob Duffy, Scott Kuggeleijn/Blair Tickner England (Probable XI): Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (Captain), Ben Foakes (Wicket-keeper), Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Who are the key performers?
Stuart Broad's tally of 84 wickets in 21 Tests versus NZ is the second-highest for any bowler. Joe Root's tally of 1,388 runs in 16 Tests versus NZ is the highest for any England batter. Daryl Mitchell has enjoyed playing against England as he boasts 617 runs in five Tests against them. Tim Southee owns 66 wickets in just 17 Tests versus the Brits.
Dream11 Fantasy cricket options
Fantasy XI (Option 1): Ollie Pope, Kane Williamson, Joe Root (C), Devon Conway, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Daryl Mitchell, James Anderson, Tim Southee (VC), Neil Wagner, Ollie Robinson Fantasy XI (Option 2): Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson (VC), Joe Root, Devon Conway, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, James Anderson (C), Stuart Broad, Tim Southee, Jacob Duffy