England were decimated in the first Test after the Kiwis won by an innings and 49 runs. The English were bowled out for just 58, coming dangerously close to breaking their all-time record for their lowest score in Tests. New Zealand then capitalized on the collapse and posted 427 to make it impossible for England to even think of winning.
The visitors have equalled their worst away record ever with their twelfth game without a victory after the last game. They have lost 9 of those 12. Can they arrest their slide, or will New Zealand rub it in further?
Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Ben Foakes, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Jack Leach.
Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson (c), Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner.
Where the teams stand
England were just absolutely clueless in the first innings of the last Test. The swinging ball played heavily into Boult’s and Southee’s hands, or rather wrists. The English batsmen had no answer for the left-right hand bowling duo, and would have been bundled out for much lower than 58 had it not been for Craig Overton. They did improve in the second innings, but it was too little too late. Four batsmen scored half-centuries, but failed to convert them into the big innings that could have resulted in a draw. This is something the England batsmen will want to focus on, especially Joe Root. The captain will have to play a huge role in the match if England are to win the Test. With Cook failing in both innings’ last time, and no other batsmen as responsible or experienced, Root must thrive under this pressure.
England’s bowling order is not incompetent as much as unlucky. In the face of a resolute Williamson, few can break his defense before he does the damage. But Henry Nicholls unexpectedly joined in on the action by scoring 145*. There is not much an attack can do when New Zealand bat like this, especially after the trauma of being dismissed for just 58. This does mean that a new match could mean very different things for England, but it has been twelve matches since they've proved their faithful right.
New Zealand played one outstanding innings and completely knocked England out of the game with it. However, they will be aware that the English will not make the same mistakes again this soon. They need to be prepared to give their best on the field despite their counterparts’ recent incompetence away from home. The pressure will be on England, though, and New Zealand has to exploit that. The best way to do so would be to bowl first and put the visitors into bat again. They have the bowlers to tackle England, and the mind games will be a treat to watch.
The home advantage will be a massive factor helping Kiwi batsmen. Williamson, Taylor, Latham, and now Nicholls will be instrumental to their success. The Kiwis have been persistent on the pitch, making it difficult for the likes of Woakes or Stokes to earn a breakthrough. In all likelihood, they will have to do it twice over five days this time, and this time it won't be as easy.
New Zealand win. The home advantage gives the Kiwis an edge over a seemingly hapless England. Don't count them out yet, but the Kiwis have a better chance of winning, anyway.
Can England recover from their first Test nightmare? Let us know in the comments below.