New Zealand v England
Thursday 23 February, 22:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
New Zealand were well beaten eventually in the first Test. The 267-run margin would have been even bigger were it not Tom Blundell's brilliant first-innings rearguard.
They should be bolstered by the return of Matt Henry. Henry could come in for all-rounder Scott Kuggeleijn with Michael Bracewell increasingly important for his batting and bowling variation.
Probable XI: Latham, Conway, Williamson, Nicholls, Mitchell, Blundell, Bracewell, Southee, Wagner, Henry, Tickner
England are likely to be unchanged. There seems little point offering record-breaking pace pair James Anderson and Stuart Broad a rest when the tour is short and there has been a good break between Tests.
Joe Root has said he doesn't know where he fits in to this new England style. That's potentially concerning as he should be able to shut out the noise and just play his own way. He was one of the few England players who didn't need to change.
Probable XI: Crawley, Duckett, Pope, Root, Brook, Stokes, Foakes, Robinson, Broad, Leach, Anderson
Wellington's Basin Reserve has been tricky to bat on for tourists. The highest score in eight innings of matches involving India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and West Indies is 317.
New Zealand's best hope woul be to prepare a green top to try to negate England's rapid runscoring. Anything resembling a flat one immediately plays to their strengths and puts the home team under pressure.
A short of the home team's runs line would be less fraught considering England's gung ho approach. Under 275 would be a good starting point.
How to play
New Zealand are 2.68/5, England are 2.6413/8 and the draw is 2.789/5. Although we rate England as the superior side and the Kiwis as one in decline following the world championship win, it is hard to argue that the stalemate lay is not outstanding value.
The 2.8415/8 to lay seems like a gift, particularly as the weather forecasts are varied and hardly catastrophic in terms of amount of rainfall. It would be a surprise if they lost more than day to weather.
As we always say, overs can be - and will be - made up through superior drainage and extended hours. And then there's England's willingness to put time back into a contest.
Sportsbook have boosted three batters for this one. Kane Williamson is upped to 3/1 for Kiwi bat in the first dig, Root is 6/5 for a fifty in the first-innings and Harry Brook is an anhanced 5/1 for a ton in the same.
Henry, always a favourite of ours, gets a generous 4/1 about top NZ bowlers. For England, Ollie Robinson catches the eye at 3/1.