England skipper Ben Stokes says he wants to make sure playing for England is an enjoyable experience while he has also praised the impact of new coach Brendon McCullum. (Second Test match betting – England EVS, New Zealand 7/4, draw 18/5).
In the first match of the new era, England defeated New Zealand at Lord’s by five wickets as they try and ascend back to the top of the Test format.
The win followed a run of just one victory in 17 Test matches – a sequence which ultimately led to Joe Root stepping down as captain and Chris Silverwood losing his job as coach.
Experienced bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson were brought back into the fold while the likes of Matthew Potts and Alex Lees adding some youthful exuberance to the mix.
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Freed from the shackles of the captaincy, Root’s unbeaten 115 proved to be the difference in the end as England triumphed with a day to spare.
Now, they could look to wrap up the three-Test series (Series outright – England 1/3, draw 9/2, New Zealand 13/2) at Trent Bridge with the match starting on Friday.
New Zealand will be hoping for much better after a poor display, particularly from their top-order batters.
Stokes believes a new positive atmosphere is being instilled in the camp and feels ex-Black Caps international McCullum is part of the reason why.
“Sometimes the pressure of being an international cricketer, delivering performances on a weekly basis, can get challenging,” he said.
“At the end of the day, when you’re playing for your country, first and foremost is to make sure you have as much fun as you possibly can.”
On the coach, the Durham all-rounder added: “That energy Baz has brought has been a lift for everyone. It’s been great having his enthusiasm around the group.”
England have named an unchanged XI for the Trent Bridge Test with spinner Jack Leach declared fit to play after a concussion ruled him out no day one and he was replaced by Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson.
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