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England set for New Zealand test

The first Test of the English summer brings the in-form Blackcaps looking to continue their great form in Test Cricket

England set for New Zealand test - Cricket News
New Zealand would hope it manages to continue its trend of strong performances as it seeks to improve its record in England.
The last time New Zealand toured England, it lost the two-Test series, 2-0. Since then, however, plenty has changed and when the two sides meet in the first Test of their new series at Lord's, starting on Thursday (May 21), they would have come in on the back of very contrasting runs in international cricket.
Since that home triumph in May 2013, England has gone on to win an Ashes series at home, but then lost 5-0 in Australia and at home to Sri Lanka, before beating India at home, and, most recently, drawing a three-Test series in the West Indies, 1-1. 
New Zealand, meanwhile, has been on a roll and established itself as a force to be reckoned with by going undefeated in six consecutive Test series. It ended 2014 with five wins for the calendar year to make it its most successful year ever in the format. It then put up a smashing run to the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 even as England suffered an early exit. 
England has had plenty going on for it off the field too, and it is imperative that it pulls itself together against a strong New Zealand team. Alastair Cook, its captain, scored a century and a couple of fifties in the Caribbean, but the pressure has hardly gone off.  
Cook might be a shoo-in at the start of the batting order, but Jonathan Trott, who opened in the West Indies, has retired, and Adam Lyth, the left-handed opener from Yorkshire, is primed for his Test debut. Cook and Lyth would have their task cut out against the new-ball combine of Tim Southee and Trent Boult, possibly the best new-ball attack in the world at the moment.
But Gary Ballance has been a steadying presence and has proved his mettle with consistent performances, while Joe Root will lend solidity to the middle order. 
Mark Wood, the Durham pacer, is another of the fresh faces in the squad. However, his debut is unlikely at Lord’s, with James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Jordan almost certain to do pace duties.
For the visitor, Martin Guptill is all set to play his first Test in nearly two years. Guptill was last seen in Test whites when New Zealand toured England last. Since then, poor returns have kept him out, but Guptill was in cracking form at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and recently scored his first first-class double century. If Guptill comes in, either Tom Latham or Hamish Rutherford might have to sit out.
That batting order wears a solid look whether or not Guptill comes in at the top of the order, with Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum in the mix and Ross Taylor and BJ Watling adding a fair bit of class. The New Zealand pace attack is no weaker, with Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner and Matt Henry providing options behind Southee and Boult, and Mark Craig a good off-spin alternative.
Corey Anderson had picked up an injury during an Indian domestic T20 league and, if he isn’t ready for action, it could open the door for Mitchell Santner, the uncapped all-rounder, to make his first international appearance.  
New Zealand warmed up with wins in its two tour matches, even though several members that are likely to take the field on Thursday were absent due to commitments to their franchises in the Indian domestic T20 league – something England would be wary of. 
New Zealand would hope it manages to continue its trend of strong performances as it seeks to improve its record in England. And it would know that beating England at home would be anything but easy.
Teams (from)
Alastair Cook (capt), Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Jordan, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Mark Wood.

New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (capt), BJ Watling, Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Luke Ronchi (wk), Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson. 

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