Cricket: Black Caps v England, first test at Lord’s – Start time, odds, live streaming and how to watch
The Black Caps make their long-awaited return to the crease at Lord’s in the first of two test matches against England that will precede the inaugural World Test Championship final.
It has been 62 days since New Zealand last played, which was a comfortable Twenty20 victory over Bangladesh at Eden Park.
The time in between has been dominated by Covid-19 chaos in India that interrupted and ultimately suspended the Indian Premier League, halting preparation for many Black Caps test squad members who were plying their trade in the shorter format for the meantime.
However, apart from the absence of paceman Trent Boult, coach Gary Stead has a full squad at his disposal, but one that comes with a handful of selection stumpers.
Kane Williamson revealed this morning that Devon Conway gets the nod ahead of Will Young and Tom Blundell at the top of the batting order to partner Tom Latham.
Conway’s dominance in first-class cricket, coupled with his strong form to begin his international white-ball career, is plenty of evidence he can handle the task of opening or acting as a higher-order batsman in tests.
Colin de Grandhomme’s return from ankle surgery paves the way for arguably the country’s top all-rounder to restake his claim in the international side. However, he is not fully fit to carry a heavy bowling load.
Boult’s arrival in England on Friday means he could suit up for the second test at Edgbaston, but Stead has all but ruled out such a selection, with the 31-year-old set to go into the World Test Championship final cold.
“I don’t think you will see Trent in the two test matches here. We’re looking to have him ready for the World Test Championship final,” Stead said.
“He’s at home; he’s had a week bowling there which is great, after a fair amount of isolation time at the end of the IPL.”
Matt Henry has been given the nod in the 12-man squad ahead of Doug Bracewell and Jacob Duffy as a possible a straight swap with Boult, or they could opt for a spinner in Mitchell Santner.
“The Lord’s pitch has a green tinge two days out – it’s been cut to 6mm. We’re used to a lot more grass so it certainly looks different,” he adds.
The Black Caps will have to run out onto a ground that, last time they were there, was the scene of utter heartbreak in the form of the 2019 Cricket World Cup final.
But the super over defeat was over two years ago now, and coach Gary Stead believes there will be no hangover from the match.
“We’ve won and lost at most grounds around the world – it won’t have much bearing on this game,” he said.
As well as painful World Cup memories, New Zealand also have historical demons to contend with. Since their first tour in 1931, they’ve played 17 tests on the famed pitch and won just once, under the captaincy of Stephen Fleming in 1999, where opener Matt Horne hit one of his four career tons with 100 off 224 balls.
England v Black Caps, first test, Lord’s, starting Wednesday June 2 at 10pm.
Black Caps (probable): Devon Conway, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry (12th man).
England squad: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Dan Lawrence, Haseeb Hameed, Joe Root (c), Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, James Bracey, Sam Billings, Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson, Mark Wood, Olly Stone, Stuart Broad.
England – $1.85
Draw – $4.80
New Zealand – $2.80
How to watch:
The Herald will provide live updates at nzherald.co.nz/sport led by Dylan Cleaver and Niall Anderson. Alternatively, you can catch live streaming and coverage on Spark Sport.
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