New Zealand showed why they are such a great force in Test cricket. A comfortable win by an innings margin gave them a 1-0 lead over England. The series now ends in Hamilton with the second Test starting from Friday.
However, New Zealand’s injury concerns level the playing field. The hosts are set to miss Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme due to injuries. That said, England will have to do all the running and take advantage of the situation. With no wins at the venue, nothing is guaranteed for England here.
New Zealand Preview
Captain Kane Williamson didn’t have many issues in the first Test, while leading his side to a win. Trent Boult wasn’t available on the final day of the match, but the Kiwis coped with that. However, the absence of Colin de Grandhomme for Hamilton will be a blow.
BJ Watling showed his true worth to the side and should be a good fantasy pick. Tim Southee is the highest wicket taker in Tests at Hamilton and should also be a prudent pick. Matt Henry is set to replace Boult, and could be the wild card.
England haven’t won a Test match in New Zealand since 2008 and that record has extended. Joe Root’s side has struggled in the first innings, but the captain himself needs to improve. Jofra Archer has struggled for effectiveness and that will be a concern as well.
Ben Stokes remains England’s best fantasy pick, especially with his all-round skills. Sam Curran is another exciting choice, given his ability to swing up front. Among the batsmen, Rory Burns has been the consistent scorer and could be a good choice.
Fantasy Players to Watch
BJ Watling is one of the best when it comes to reviving fortunes. The wicket-keeper adds value with runs, not to speak of his contributions behind the stumps.
Mitchell Santner has proven to be a good spinning all-rounder in the first Test. With his variety and control, Santner provides great value to the Kiwis.
Ben Stokes is England’s best hope to have any chance in this Test. The all-rounder is a definite must for your fantasy side.
New Zealand: 1 Tom Latham 2 Jeet Raval 3 Kane Williamson (C) 4 Ross Taylor 5 Henry Nicholls 6 Daryl Mitchell 7 BJ Watling (WK) 8 Mitchell Santner 9 Tim Southee 10 Neil Wagner 11 Matt Henry
England: 1 Rory Burns 2 Dom Sibley 3 Joe Denly 4 Joe Root (C) 5 Ben Stokes 6 Ollie Pope 7 Jos Buttler (WK) 8 Sam Curran 9 Jofra Archer 10 Jack Leach 11 Stuart Broad
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