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England, New Zealand face-off in series decider at Edgbaston

Eng vs NZ, 2nd Test, preview

After settling for a draw in the opening Test at Lord's, England and New Zealand will battle it out with the series on the line in the second Test at Edgbaston.


England vs New Zealand, second Test
Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham
10-14 June, 11:00 local; 10:00 GMT

The hosts had to battle hard on the final day of the opening Test at Lord's, with a well-disciplined batting performance earning them a draw. Opener Dom Sibley impressed with a composed knock of 60* on the final day, while his opening partner Rory Burns was the star of the show in their first innings, scoring 132. England though will miss the services of pacer Ollie Robinson, who picked up seven wickets in the match, due to his suspension. Craig Overton could get the nod in his place in the second Test. 

New Zealand have been dealt a significant blow, however, with it emerging on the eve of the match that captain Kane Williamson would miss the Test as he nursed an "irritated left-elbow". The decision to rest him, coach Gary Stead said, "has been made very much with the ICC World Test Championship Final at Southampton in mind, and we are confident he will be ready for that match."

Despite the big loss, New Zealand will still be hopeful of victory. They pushed hard to clinch a victory in the first Test but will be satisfied with their overall performance. Opener Devon Conway had a dream start to his Test career with a scintillating double ton in the first innings. Experienced pacer Tim Southee also showcased his skills, picking up seven wickets in the match, including a six-wicket haul in the first innings.

The Kiwis could be bolstered by the return of paceman Trent Boult, who could feature at Edgbaston due to a relaxation in the quarantine rules in the UK.

Remember the last time:

After opting to bat first, the Kiwis posted a competitive score of 378 runs on the board courtesy of Conway's double ton. They then skittled out England for 275, gaining a healthy first-innings lead as Southee led the charge with the ball. 

The visitors forced the issue on the final day, setting England a target of 273 to chase in two sessions. Joe Root's men opted for caution in reply, scoring 170/3 before the result was declared as a draw. A complete washout of day three due to persistent rain certainly played a factor, as the loss of overs had a major influence on the result. 

What they said:

Joe Root (England captain): "We set out to try and lay a platform and hopefully after a period of time weigh things up and see where we could go. Unfortunately, we couldn't do that, but ultimately the series is level going into Edgbaston. It was a tricky wicket with a bit of up and down bounce, and we didn't have the time we needed to go after that target. It was the conditions, because we have the talent in the dressing room to get the runs. We were resilient, and we made it hard for them to get us out, and that will give us confidence going into the next Test."

Kane Williamson (New Zealand captain): "We had a little bit of work to do in the morning before we were where we wanted to be, and the guys responded to give us the runs we needed with the time remaining, but the weather forced our hand a bit. If it wasn't for that lost day, we would have seen a fantastic finish to what was a very good game of cricket." 

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