England’s tour of New Zealand continues with a two-Test series, where the travelling side will be looking to continue their good form in all formats of the game. The first meeting starts on Wednesday at Mount Maunganui, with the second arriving at Hamilton soon after.
A super over saw England clinch a thrilling T20 series 3-2 earlier this month, but all eyes are now firmly fixed on the upcoming couple of Tests.
The hosts will undoubtedly be seeking revenge for both the recent T20 loss and the World Cup final earlier this summer. Both matches ended in super over defeats for the Black Caps.
It looks set to be another nail-biting affair, with the home side sitting second in the Test match team rankings. England are narrowly behind them in third.
The pair cannot be separated, with both sides available at 7/5 to win the opening Test.
And a draw is certainly a possibility now more than ever between the two nations. It’s currently 7/2 for them to battle out another stalemate in the first Test.
The hosts do, however, dominate the player rankings in the format. New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls and Tom Latham sit third, sixth and eighth respectively in the top ten Test batting standings. Joe Root is England’s sole representative in seventh.
Williamson is currently 9/4 to top score for the home side in the first Test. Nicholls is available at 11/2, with Latham currently 4/1.
And Root can be backed at 3/1 to be England’s top scoring batsman at Mount Maunganui. He will, however, be challenged by team-mates Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley. The former has been given odds of 10/3 to top score for the visitors, with the latter currently 9/2.
New Zealand also outscore their rivals in the bowling standings. Trent Boult and Neil Wagner will be out to damage England’s confidence early on with the ball. They sit comfortably in the top ten Test bowling rankings.
England’s James Anderson also makes the top ten cut, but he hasn’t made the squad due to a calf injury.
The travelling side do, however, boast three players to New Zealand’s zero in the all-rounder rankings for Test cricket. Ben Stokes is England’s top representative.
The versatile 28-year-old will be looking to add to his phenomenal year. He’s currently 5/1 to top score with the bat for his side.
Moeen Ali is also in the top ten, but his desire to take a break from Test contention gives Chris Woakes the chance to better his tallies. The right-hander has been given odds of 25/1 to be the top scoring English batsman in the opening fixture.