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England v New Zealand: Second Test preview

If the Lord’s Test is anything to go by, the Ben Stokes/Brendon McCullum era is going to be fun.

England started the international summer in fantastic style by picking up a five-wicket win on day 4 at the Home of Cricket – with Joe Root taking us home with an unbeaten 115 and reaching 10,000 Test runs on the way – and now travel to Trent Bridge looking to make it two in two against New Zealand.

They’re the World Test Champions for a reason though, so we can expect Kane Williamson’s side to come back hard at their hosts on Friday.

It is set up to be another cracker at a ground that has produced so many fantastic matches over the years.

England unchanged 

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McCullum must be thinking this Test cricket lark is the easiest thing in the world as England have named an unchanged side after their win at Lord’s.

The big news is that Jack Leach, just back from the concussion that saw him replaced by Matt Parkinson on the first day of the series opener, has retained his place in the XI.

It’s nothing less than the Somerset left-arm spinner deserves and though it’s unfortunate for Parkinson, he can feel confident that his time will come.

Matt Potts can barely have dreamt a better debut – taking 4 for 13 and 3 for 55 across the two innings at Lord’s – and has earnt the run in the side he looks set to get due to our long list of fast bowling absentees.

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The Durham quick was hugely effective as England’s first chance bowler while it was utterly glorious to see Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad doing what they do best – blowing away top orders!

They’ll hope to have similar success at Trent Bridge, where the legendary pair sit first and joint-second in the list of all-time Test wicket-takers.

Confirmed XI: Lees, Crawley, Pope, Root, Bairstow, Stokes (c), Foakes, Leach, Potts, Broad, Anderson

An opportunity for the top three

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While Stokes, Root, and Ben Foakes will have left Lord’s feeling particularly positive, it’s only natural that the others in the batting order will be keen to make the most of their opportunities at Trent Bridge.

The top three in particular will want to lay a marker given the strong start that so many batters have made to the County Championship season.

The importance of Zak Crawley’s 43 in the first innings at Lord’s should not be underestimated but he’ll be eyeing another big score while his partner Alex Lees will be keen to show once again that he’s cut out for the Test arena.

Ollie Pope’s move to number three was never going to be a short-term fix but Trent Bridge is another chance for him to remind everyone of his vast talent.

Kiwis look to bounce back

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Up until that crazy over bowled by Broad on day 3, it had started to look as if the Kiwis were in the driving seat but England wrestled back momentum and now lead the series 1-0.

There are reasons to be cheerful for Williamson’s side, not least the runs that Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell, arguably their two least established batters, scored in the second innings, but they’ll want to be better at Trent Bridge – a ground with historic links to New Zealand cricket.

They will be without Colin de Grandhomme for the rest of the series due to a heel issue but even without the all-rounder, this bowling attack is a dangerous one – as we saw at Lord’s.

Ajaz Patel was barely used at the Home of Cricket and with de Grandhomme out, it would be no surprise to see him replaced by Neil Wagner.

It was announced late on Thursday evening that Williamson would miss the second Test, with Tom Latham set to take over as captain.

Top order batter Hamish Rutherford has been called up into the squad in his place but it looks likely batting all-rounder Michael Bracewell will make his debut.

New Zealand will be desperate to bounce back and level the series, which only serves to make the second Test a more exciting contest.

Predicted XI: Latham (c), Young, Conway, Nicholls, Mitchell, Bracewell, Blundell, Jamieson, Southee, Wagner, Boult


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New Zealand are going to bounce right back at England after defeat at Lord’s but kicking off the McStokes era with a victory will have breathed fresh confidence into the Three Lions.

They could well make it two in two at Trent Bridge to claim a series win!