Toss New Zealand chose to bowl vs England
New Zealand captain Tim Southee opted to insert England for the second Test running – this time on a grey, blustery morning in Wellington and presented with a green-tinged Basin Reserve surface that is expected to be at its liveliest early on.
Southee and his attack were badly mauled in the pink-ball game in Mount Maunganui, conceding 325 at 5.57 an over and allowing England to dictate terms for the rest of the Test. But in more favourable conditions, and with Matt Henry back after the birth of his child to sharpen their edge, New Zealand were aiming to land the first blows at a ground where they have not lost since 2017.
“Hopefully a bit of life in it but usually here we’re accustomed to a very good cricket surface,” Southee said, before confirming the inclusion of Henry and a recall for top-order batter Will Young. Scott Kuggeleijn and Blair Tickner, debutants in the first Test, both dropped out, with Southee indicating New Zealand would lean on Daryl Mitchell as their fourth seamer.
England had named an unchanged XI a day out from the start, with James Anderson and Stuart Broad both fit to play at the Basin Reserve, 15 years from the first outing of their now record-breaking partnership.
Ben Stokes confirmed that he would have made the same choice as Southee – it is more than a decade since the side winning the toss in Wellington has opted to bat first – but was bullish about his side continuing with their usual proactive approach in a bid to seal England’s first series win in New Zealand since 2007-08. “It presents us with an opportunity to get out there and get some runs on the board,” he said.
New Zealand: 1 Tom Latham, 2 Will Young, 3 Devon Conway, 4 Kane Williamson, 5 Henry Nicholls, 6 Daryl Mitchell, 7 Tom Blundell (wk), 8 Michael Bracewell, 9 Tim Southee (capt), 10 Matt Henry, 11 Neil Wagner
England: 1 Zak Crawley, 2 Ben Duckett, 3 Ollie Pope, 4 Joe Root, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Ben Stokes (capt), 7 Ben Foakes (wk), 8 Ollie Robinson, 9 Jack Leach, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson