The good news is that England have conceded 500 in first innings five times in the last ten years (not including this Test obviously) and they have lost only three of them.
Putting history aside for a moment, it is far from inconceivable that England can forge a couple of partnerships that give their support base hope of a escaping with a draw. The pitch looks that good. There is minimal swing and New Zealand attack, Kyle Jamieson aside, looks samey. On a flat pitch like this, they could well miss Neil Wagner.
All we're interested in are the odds, of course. And we can envisage the draw being skeletal favourites on day three. It won't take much. A 100-run partnership should see it nosedive.
From the current 1.748/11, we could get 1.351/3. Chuck on an extra 50% from your original stake on the lay button and you're going all green. England are 13.50 and New Zealand are 2.829/5. Bet the match odds here.
For England runs, punters will need to separate the chances of them scoring well and winning. It's not the same outcome at Sportsbook's quote of 438.5. England can make that an overs bet but they would still be 114 behind with 439 all out. Bet the Sportsbook odds here.
Root on for a ton?
Sportsbook have boosted Joe Root to 4/1 to score a first-innings century from 16/5. That leaves us with a bit of a conundrum.
The stats below suggest, bar his form in the last two years and in 2021, a 20% chance of three figures is a bit on the mean side. But factor in the road-like nature of the pitch and it could be one of the best ways to get with England's premier rungetter for sometime.
We're also enamoured with the 12/5 that both Root and Bairstow score 30-plus runs. We have no worries on Root holding up his end of the bargain but even Bairstow should look like a king here.
Bairstow great weakness is missing a quick one from a pacer that ducks in only slightly. That threat is surely reduced. Bet the Sportsbook odds here.
Root first-innings ton percentage chance
Last 3 years: 18.4%
2022 (7 games): 14.2
2021 (15): 33
2020 (8): 0
2019 (12): 8
2018 (13): 0
Status quo remains
Criticism of England's decision to bowl first has, of course, intensified as the data has been pored over. New Zealand's 559 is the third highest score England have conceded after they won the toss and chose to bowl.
Stokes's call doesn't tell us much than we didn't already know. It reinforces the rationale view of England as a team desperately low on confidence with two wins in 18 and one wholly reliant on new-ball swing to try to turn their fortunes around.
At Trent Bridge with overcast conditions there would have probably been criticism if Stokes had decided to bat first.
It certainly seems that both teams misread the surface. Perhaps New Zealand more so. They left out their spinner entirely while England, although there were mitigating circumstances, resisted the temptation to deploy the potentially more potent Matt Parkinson.
One for the notebook...
A couple of stats for the notebook. No team to play more than four Tests since the start of last year has a lower average opening partnership than England. They've managed just 23.
Not unrelated to those numbers is Zak Crawley's extraordinary percentage of the number of balls he edges. At eight per cent no other opener since he made his debuted (20 innings minimum) has a higher number.
It could be that Crawley has played his penultimate innings for England, although one suspects he will be given at least until the end of the series. It will not be a good look for Brendon McCullum for the axe to fall on a guy who, technical failings aside, subscribes wholeheartedly to the new coach's ethos.
If the Alex Lees-Crawley partnership does survive, then shorting partnership runs is a decent strategy. In an ideal world the pair will cling on until the South Africa series where another stern new-ball examination awaits.