New Zealand v England First Test Tips: Tourists fair value to take lead

Daryl Mitchell
Daryl Mitchell is 7/1 for top Kiwi bat

Ed Hawkins previews the first Test from Mount Manganui on Thursday and says Ben Stokes's team are a bet...

  • England fair favourites

  • Pink ball threatens batters

  • Mitchell 7/1 for top Kiwi bat

  • New Zealand v England
    Thursday 16 February, 01:00
    TV: Live on Sky Sports

    Team news

    New Zealand are not at full bowling strength. They have lost Kyle Jamieson to a recurrence of a stress fracture, Matt Henry is on paternity leave and Trent Boult is no longer centrally contracted.

    They will rely heavily on Tim Southee, who is the new skipper, and Neil Wagner. Blair Ticker may provide another pace option while spinner Michael Bracewell now may be asked to balance the team in the absence of Jamieson. Another option is the all-rounder Scott Kuggelijn. Dependent on conditions

    Possible XI: Latham, Conway, Williamson, Nicholls, Mitchell, Blundell, Bracewell, Southee, Sodhi, Wagner Tickner

    England, as part of their new-found aggressive style, have already named their team. There are no surprises.

    Management have resisted the temptation for a point of difference with the ball by going for Stuart Broad instead of Olly Stone's pace. Ollie Robinson continues his transition to the main man.

    Ben Duckett, who has played all his Tests in Asia, is likely to find this more testing conditions. It could be a severe examination of his technique.

    Named XI: Crawley, Duckett, Pope, Root, Brook, Stokes, Foakes, Robinson, Leach, Broad, Anderson

    Pitch report

    The Mount Maunganui surface has produced a fair battle between bat and ball down in a small study sample. An exception is when England were beaten by an innings in 2019. They conceded 615. Runs in first-innings has generally lead to wear and tear in the fourth.

    There are some rain showers forecast. That combined with the pink ball which we know is harder to hit will make this feel like an unders play on the par line, particularly if New Zealand bat first against a stronger visiting attack. We may go unders 275.

    Back England to win 1st Test


    How to play

    The draw has drifted significantly as the forecast has improved. It's now at 5.104/1. New Zealand are 2.727/4 and England 2.265/4.

    England have a poor record in New Zealand but their price has the feel of value. These teams are going in different directions.

    Ben Stokes's crew are smashing all before them - they beat the Kiwis 3-0 in the summer - while the hosts have won once in the last seven. They're a shadow of the world-champion unit.

    Tops value

    Darryl Mitchell was a constant thorn in England's side in the summer so the 7/1 about him top scoring for the Kiwis in the first dig is eye-catching. For England, if we've called their dominance wrong and the ball is zipping around, Ben Foakes has appeal at 16/1. Joe Root is 11/4.

Ed Hawkins P-L

2023: +6.16
2021: +29.41pts
2020: +5.91pts
2019: +37.25pts
2018: +23.53pts
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pt

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