After an embarrassing defeat by an innings and 49 runs under lights in Auckland, England will be looking to bounce back from what has been a horror couple of series against Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand will want to leave a mark on the final test of their home summer.

England’s main problem during the first test no surprise now was their first innings after being rolled for their lowest test total against New Zealand and their sixth lowest against all teams. Despite fighting half-centuries in the second innings to Chris Woakes (52), Ben Stokes (66), Mark Stoneman (55) and captain Joe Root (51), the mountain was too big to climb, and they weren’t able to make New Zealand bat for the second time.

In fact, England haven’t won an away test match since beating Bangladesh in the first test by just 22 runs in Bangladesh back in October 2016. Losing series 4-0 to India in India. Despite winning home series against both South Africa and the West Indies, they got done 4-0 in the recent Ashes series and now are 1-0 down coming up to the second test against New Zealand.

The most prominent piece of news coming out of the Black Caps’ camp is that Todd Astle who was brought in to replace the already injured Mitchell Santner has been ruled out of the second test due to the side strain suffered at Eden Park. Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson revealed this morning that in-form Ish Sodhi who will play in his first test since 2916 would replace him.

Sodhi comes into the side off the back of some excellent domestic four-day cricket form. In his last two matches for Northern Districts, he has picked up two seven-wicket bags and one five-wicket haul ending with 19 wickets in the space of three games.

Changes could be aplenty for England however, as both all-rounders Woakes and Moeen Ali have been left out of the 12 man squad leading up to tomorrow’s test match. Jack Leach, James Vince and Mark Wood are in contention to come into the side.

Despite England comfortably winning the final One-dayer against New Zealand at the same venue, Hagley Oval is a ground New Zealand have enjoyed success at in the longer format. Losing only one test match out of four previously played at Hagley. Keeping aside one loss that came against Australia in 2016, they have notched up big wins against Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at the same venue.

In two out of four test matches played at Hagley, one or more New Zealand batsman have brought up centuries. One of the game, when there wasn’t a century brought up, was against Pakistan last summer. In that game, two debutants in Jeet Raval and Colin de Grandhomme returned with sweet memories as de Grandhomme tore apart the Pakistan batting lineup in the first innings taking 6-41. Raval made 55 in the first innings and 36 not out in the second. Both performances went a long way to guiding New Zealand to an eight-wicket win for the Kiwis.

Speaking of Raval, he will need a score just like Henry Nicholls did in the first game to nail down his spot in the test match side.


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