1st Test – New Zealand V England – Fantasy Preview

England’s ever-changing top order likely to continue in NZ

New Zealand

The Black Caps finally look set to break the mould when it comes to team selection in the longest format, particularity in their bowling stocks. New Zealand’s success with fast bowling-trio Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner at home in red ball cricket for a number of years now has meant that change hasn’t been necessary. They’ve also hinted that they’ll look into Australia’s rotation-policy with their quick’s in the recent Ashes series where a number of bowlers were rested, that could open the door for Matt Henry and speed-machine Lockie Ferguson who is yet to make his test debut having played 36 ODI’s for his country. New Zealand’s captain is just about back to full-fitness after recovering from a hip injury, Kane Williamson is definitely the rock for them at No. 3 with the bat and will be a key contributor in these next couple of months. With a reasonably solid middle-order to back up the openers and England’s experimental top order still in motion, the Black Caps should fancy their chances in this series. Now it’s just a matter of how New Zealand structure their side for the upcoming two months of test cricket. It’s likely that they’ll want to save some of their star bowlers for the upcoming tour down under, but at the same time Williamson has decided to stick with success confirming that Boult, Southee and Wagner are the trio that have been chosen for the first test against England at Mount Maunganui which comes as no great surprise.

Dom Sibley and Rory Burns of England runs between the wickets during day one of the tour match between New Zealand XI and England at Cobham Oval on November 15, 2019 in Whangarei, New Zealand. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)


Expecting to “fight fire with fire” (referring to the Jofra Archer vs Lockie Ferguson battle), it was the match-up that didn’t even eventuate after the Black Caps confirmed that they’ll be playing their most experienced fast bowling-trio ahead of the first test at Mount Maunganui. It’s uncertain as the whether that’s a good or bad thing for England, the pace of Ferguson would be troublesome but the success that Boult, Southee and Wagner have had in New Zealand is just as concerning. One thing’s for sure, and that’s just how important their opening combination with the bat will be. If Rory Burns and debutante-Dom Sibley can’t put up a fight against New Zealand’s potent-seam bowling attack, the visitors could find themselves in some serious trouble. Chris Woakes spot in the test side was always under fire leading into this tour, and as expected he was axed after two below-average performances in his last two tests against Australia. Sam Curran holds his spot in the side alongside Stuart Broad and England’s biggest X factor Jofra Archer who should thrive in these NZ conditions. Middle-order batsman Ollie Pope will also be playing just his third test match as a 21-year-old, that’s where Ben Stokes status as a proven-performer for England will come into play with two inexperienced batsmen in the XI. Joe Root’s failure to convert fifties into hundreds in the recent Ashes continued, can he turn that around in New Zealand?

TOP 5 FANTASY PICKS – 1st test, Mount Maunganui

New Zealand

  • Trent Boult
  • Kane Williamson
  • Tom Latham
  • Neil Wagner
  • Tim Southee

Wildcard pick – Henry Nicholls


  • Jofra Archer
  • Jos Buttler
  • Joe Root
  • Ben Stokes
  • Sam Curran

Wildcard pick – Dom Sibley

Team XI’s

New Zealand – 1. Tom Latham 2. Jeet Raval 3. Kane Williamson (c) 4. Ross Taylor 5. Henry Nicholls 6. BJ Watling (wk) 7. Colin de Grandhomme 8. Mitchell Santner 9. Tim Southee 10. Neil Wagner 11. Trent Boult.

England – 1. Rory Burns 2. Dom Sibley 3. Joe Denly 4. Joe Root (c) 5. Ben Stokes 6. Ollie Pope 7. Jos Buttler (wk) 8. Sam Curran 9. Jofra Archer 10. Stuart Broad 11. Jack Leach.

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