After a nail-baiting ODI series, the home team New Zealand set to play two match test series against England which begins in Auckland on Thursday. The Kiwis had played only 2 tests so far in this home season while England reached here after lost the Ashes 0-4 to Australia. This is going to the first ever Day / Night test in New Zealand soil. The first test between New Zealand vs England is schedule to start at 2 PM Local | 6:30 AM IST on Thursday, 22nd March 2018.



Generally, New Zealand hosts a minimum of 5-6 test matches during their home summer. But in the ongoing season, they have played only 2 tests against West Indies in December. After more than 3 months gap, now they hosts England in another 2 match series. The Hero of New Zealand in ODIs, Ross Taylor stretchered out after 4th ODI due to thigh injury. He is recovering well at the moment and expected to be available for the first test. Still, NZC has been added Martin Guptill as a cover for Taylor. Tom Latham and Jeet Raval are regular test openers of Kiwis for past one year. But as the experienced Guptill added to the squad, he will be in the XI even if Ross Taylor is playing. Guptill will possibly replaces Jeet Raval and open an innings along with Tom Latham. Guptill was on fine form and played a plenty of match-winning knocks against both West Indies and Pakistan in limited overs matches. But, he struggled a lot in the ODI series against England. This will be a right time for him to regain his form. Tom Latham had a good time during ODIs and he set to play a key role at top of the order.

Captain Kane Williamson is the major key player in the format and he has a huge role to play. Ross Taylor is expected to be fit ahead of this game and could possibly available for selection. In case Taylor is not fit to play, then Raval might bat at no. 4. Henry Nicholls will continue hold on his place at no. 5 while an all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme will take care of batting at no.6. Grandhomme will also has a job to do with a ball and no wonder if he shine with both bat and bowl in this longer format. The bowling all-rounder Mitchell Santner has been ruled out with knee injury, because of that leg-spinner Todd Astle is all set to make his return to test format for the first time in 17 months. Astle is capable off with both bat and bowl and his long First-Class experience will come into play in this day/night test. After tried with new wicket-keepers, Black Caps bringing back BJ Watling to the team. He had played his last test match exactly an year ago against South Africa. New Zealand will continue to play with three men pace attack. Their regular bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult has a huge role to play with a bowl. Neil Wagner will take a third pacer’s place. Remember, Wagner had taken 14 wickets in 4 innings against West Indies earlier on this summer.



The English team entering into the last phase of this tour down under and aiming to finish this long tour on high. As the test cricket returned, Joe Root is taking the leadership again. England made a few changes to their squad from the last Ashes test. Liam Livingstone, Jack Leach, Mark Wood and Craig Overton are named in the squad along with the all-rounder Ben Stokes. The most experienced Alastair Cook will continue to open an innings but who will partnering him at top order. Mark Stoneman who had an average tour during the Ashes, have 50/50 chances to get a game in Auckland. The uncapped Liam Livingstone is the strong competitor for Stoneman, who has 2000+ first-class runs in his 2-years domestic career. James Vince is expected to keep his place at no. 3. He should utilize an opportunity to cement his place in the XI.

Captain Joe Root will bat at his usual position no. 4. Undoubtedly, he is the key player of England and he should led from the front to win the game. A strong batting performances of Dawid Malan during the Ashes helped him to retain his place in the squad. He has to showcase his talents again to get a regular spot in the squad. Wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow used to open the innings in the ODI series, but he push back to middle-order in the longer format. He concluded ODI series with a blistering performances, hopefully he will continue that good form in the first test too. As Ben Stokes is back, there would a change in the bowling unit. England is expect to play with three specialist seamers Chris Woakes, James Anderson and Stuart Broad. That case Ben Stokes will take care of 4th seamer role along with batting in middle-order. All-rounder Moeen Ali will be the only specialist spinner in the XI. Not only with a ball, Moeen Ali will come with an amazing performances with a bat too. Regular pace options of England in the format, James Anderson and Stuart Broad will bring all of their experiences in to an account and they will get a company of bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes.




  • Tom Latham
  • Ross Taylor
  • Colin de Grandhomme
  • Todd Astle
  • Trent Boult
  • Neil Wagner

Top Pick – Kane Williamson



  • Alastair Cook
  • Dawid Malan
  • Ben Stokes
  • Jonny Bairstow
  • Chris Woakes
  • James Anderson

Top Pick – Joe Root




1. Tom Latham, 2. Martin Guptill, 3. Kane Williamson, 4. Ross Taylor / Jeet Raval, 5. Henry Nicholls, 6. Colin de Grandhomme, 7. BJ Watling, 8. Todd Astle, 9. Neil Wagner, 10. Tim Southee, 11. Trent Boult.


1. Alastair Cook, 2. Mark Stoneman / Liam Livingstone, 3. James Vince, 4. Joe Root, 5. Dawid Malan, 6. Ben Stokes, 7. Jonny Bairstow, 8. Moeen Ali, 9. Chris Woakes, 10. Stuart Broad, 11. James Anderson.




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