Preview and odds for the first Test
England’s new dawn begins at Lord’s on Thursday as their new-look leadership team face their first challenge against New Zealand.
Following the 1-0 series defeat in the West Indies, which came hot on the heels of a 4-0 Ashes drubbing, captain Joe Root stepped down – ending a record 64 Tests as England skipper – and has been replaced by Ben Stokes.
Kiwi Brendon McCullum has been appointed as head coach, replacing Chris Silverwood who was sacked after the Australia series, while Rob Key has been overseeing change in his new role as director of men’s cricket.
The three-Test series against the Black Caps kicks off another hectic international summer, as we preview the first Test odds.
Our new boss on the challenge ahead, his experiences and working with captain Ben Stokes 🦁 🏴 🏏
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) May 19, 2022
New dawn with familiar faces
Andrew Strauss’ interim spell as director of men’s cricket was dominated by one decision – the controversial dropping of England’s two leading all-time wicket-takers James Anderson and Stuart Broad against the West Indies.
England decided after the Ashes to try and plan for life without the pair, who have a combined 1,177 Test wickets between them, but an underwhelming bowling display in the Caribbean followed.
Key, Stokes and McCullum have instantly reinstated the long-term opening pair with the 40-year-old Anderson and 35-year-old Broad set to spearhead the attack.
Anderson is 9/4 to be England’s top wicket-taker in the first innings, with Broad available at 5/2 in the England v New Zealand betting tips.
A spate of injuries has affected England’s fast bowling stock and is set to hand Durham’s Matty Potts a Test debut. He is 9/2 to take the most wickets in the first innings.
New Zealand to provide stern Test
McCullum will know all too well the resilience and quality of his compatriots, who arrive at Lord’s as the reigning World Test champions.
This time around they sit fifth in the standings, with two wins from six Tests, while England are rock bottom with just one win in 12. Stretching further back, England have won one of their last 17 Tests.
Kane Williamson’s Black Caps secured a series win in England 12 months ago and will be confident of a repeat, despite a patchy 2022 having lost two of their four Tests to Bangladesh and South Africa.
New Zealand are 2/1 to get the win and are available at 13/8 to win the three-Test series in the England v New Zealand betting tips.
Batting battle pivotal
England have kept faith with their opening partnership from the West Indies – Zak Crawley and Alex Lees – as their top-order struggles continue.
They have had five different opening partnerships in the last two years, with a partnership average of 25.28 the highest, and Crawley and Lees average 13.00 in their three Tests with a best of just 23.
In contrast, New Zealand’s likely opening pair of Tom Latham and Will Young average 35.63 and boast a best of 151 in 11 Tests.
New Zealand -1.5 to have the highest first innings opening partnership is priced at 5/6 while England’s first wicket to fall for less than 23.5 runs is also available at 5/6.
England have a decision to make over whether to hand Yorkshire’s Harry Brook a Test debut.
The 23-year-old has been in superb form, passing 1,000 runs in all formats this season on Sunday having scored 840 County Championship runs at an average of 140.00.
Brook could miss out to Jonny Bairstow but is available to top England’s first innings run charts at 7/1 in the England v New Zealand betting tips.
View the latest England v New Zealand odds
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication