The English international summer begins on Thursday when a new era begins at Lord’s as England take on the reigning World Test Championship holders New Zealand in the first of a three Test series, one which has so much intrigue to it.
England will be out to begin their new era with a win while New Zealand have a high profile opportunity to remind everyone just why they are the World Test champions at the home of cricket. This one is perfectly setup.
After a run of one win in their last 17 Test matches and no series win in five something was always going to give for England in the end and it was both the coach and the captain that went, the latter far too late in the piece but better late than never. That means England will be led by Ben Stokes for the first time in this match and with Brendon McCullum having taken over as coach there is a source of hope and optimism for English fans again.
All eyes will be on the approach of England in this match. I expect a much more positive intent on the field both in the aggression they play with and the attacking nature of everything they do. Ultimately though the Stokes-McCullum era needs to find some runs because England haven’t scored consistent runs for the better part of three years and if they are going to turn their fortunes around in this format of the game that simply has to change.
The champions have been a little inconsistent in this format since they won the World Test Championship. They looked an average side when they lost the first Test against Bangladesh at the beginning of the year and although they rebounded to win the second game pretty convincingly you just wonder if there is a vulnerable side to them, particularly with the retirement of a couple of stalwarts of their batting unit in the last 12 months.
Generally we think of New Zealand as a side who are great with the ball and I expect them to be that here with a pretty balanced attack but you look down their likely batting order and there are a couple of potential weak links and one or two of the stronger forces haven’t shown much form in recent times. There are a few players who have been away at the IPL and won’t have played red ball cricket in a while too which is another concern.
Sign up for a Boylesports account to get up to £25 in free bets! Perfect offer for this series! Click the image below for this great offer! New accounts only. 18+ T&Cs apply. Gamble Aware.
England have named their XI for this match and confirmed that they will be giving a debut to Durham seamer Matty Potts while both Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson return to a side which will have Ollie Pope batting at three.
Trent Boult is expected to miss out on this match having been involved in the IPL final on Sunday while Henry Nicholls hasn’t recovered from Covid in time to play here. Matt Henry is expected to play in place of Boult while Daryl Mitchell could get a start.
I’m going to take a watching brief in the main in this match given that we need to assess just what changes the new England hierarchy are making to the way they play their cricket so I’ll bet with a bit more freedom at Trent Bridge next week but for now I do think the runs line for this match is a little on the low side at 904.5. England have been short of runs for a while now but in the main their issues are overseas. The only time in the last five Tests here that they have failed was against Ireland when they played a reserve team.
Middlesex matches on this ground this season have been fairly high scoring this season and the weather for the first three days is set perfect so the batters should really enjoy themselves in the first innings. A lot has been made about the amount of unsold tickets for this match so I’m sure there will be a desire for the match to go on as long as possible. I expect a decent wicket to open the summer and with England wanting to embrace the new era in style I fancy we’ll see both teams putting up enough in the first innings for this line to be covered.
Back Over 904.5 runs for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365