Following the first drawn Test between England and New Zealand (Eng vs NZ) at the Lord’s, all eyes will now move to the series decider which will begin on 10th June at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
It will be New Zealand’s last attempt to hone its skills ahead of the crucial World Test Championship final against India starting 18th June. The Blackcaps will be without skipper Kane Williamson who has some trouble with his left-elbow
Devon Conway’s first double century and Tim Southee’s six-wicket haul pushed the BlackCaps to a commanding lead in the first Test match. They will, however, anticipate far better performances from stand in captain Tom Latham and Ross Taylor, who form the backbone of the Kiwi middle-order. They dominated England and would have won the first Test if the third day hadn’t been washed out. With England’s batting line-up looking a little shaky, New Zealand will look to grab a series victory.
The Black Caps coach Gary Stead has said that there will be at least one change in fast bowlers from the first test and with relaxed quarantine norms in the UK, the Kiwis will be glad to welcome Trent Boult’s return to the starting XI, most likely in lieu of Neil Wagner. Also, Rachin Ravindra may be called into the side as Mitchell Santer has been ruled out due to a cut he suffered on his left index finger.
Joe Root and Co., on the other hand, will be eager to begin their summer with a series victory. While many considered England had squandered a chance by failing to demonstrate intent to chase down the target on Day 5, the hosts would attempt to outperform the Kiwis in the second Test.
At the conclusion of the first Test match (Eng vs NZ), the hosts’ would have been filled with mixed emotions. While England didn’t make many mistakes at Lord’s, there weren’t many notable individual displays throughout the five days. With the exception of Rory Burns’ valiant century in the first innings, none of the English batsmen were able to fight off the Kiwi assault.
Ollie Robinson was given his England debut and while he had a fantastic outing, he has been barred from international cricket pending the outcome of an inquiry over racist and sexist comments he made eight years ago. As a result, he will miss the second test, with either fast bowler Craig Overton or spin bowler Jack Leach positioned to take his place. England have also added Dom Bess to the team.
The weather at Edbagston is predicted to be clear with light drizzles expected on Day 1 and Day 5. The temperature might hover around 22-27 Degrees Celsius and we can expect a full match with minimal interruptions.
The pitch at Edgbaston offers maximum assistance to the pace bowlers and we can expect movement and swing throughout the five days. Spinners might come into play in the later stages of the match if there’s no rain.
Statistics at Edgbaston
Highest Individual Score: 294, Alastair Cook (Eng) vs India, 2011
England won the match by an innings and 242 runs.
Best Bowling Figures (Innings): 7/17, Wilfred Rhodes (Eng) vs Australia, 1902
Best Bowling Figures (Match): 12/119 – Fred Trueman (Eng) vs West Indies, 1963
England won the match by 217 runs.
Highest Team Score: 717/7 dec. – England vs India, 2011
Alastair Cook was the Player of the Match for his brilliant 294 runs to help England secure the match by an innings and 242 runs.
Lowest Team Score: 30 – South Africa vs. England, 1924
England won the match by an innings and 18 runs
Highest Successful Run Chase: 283/5 – South Africa vs. England, 2008
Graeme Smith was adjudged as Player of the Match for his knock of 154* off 246 deliveries to help South Africa win by 5 wickets.