Preview of England v New Zealand First Test of Summer
by Andy Jalil

Ground:Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood
Player:SE Bond, BB McCullum, JE Root, GP Swann, AN Cook
Event:New Zealand in England 2013

DateLine: 15th May 2013


Andy Jalil reports from Lord's
In Association with INVESTEC

Andy Jalil - Cricket Writer and Commentator
Andy Jalil from Lord's
© Pakistan Cricket Website
England will embark on the summer’s international season in distinctly wintery conditions in this freakishly long spell of cold weather in the country. For Alistair Cook, the England captain, it will be a case of lifting his team to perform at a considerably higher level than they did against these opponents in New Zealand a little over a month ago. In that series England were fortunate to come away with three drawn Tests, having been on the verge of defeat in the first and third Tests.


In this long summer on international cricket with the important Ashes series to follow, it will be a priority for Cook to put right the performance in New Zealand before focusing on the main event against Australia. It will be a big mistake for England to approach the two-Test series as a warm-up for the Ashes.


England will need to discover the winning form that they showed in India prior to the trip to New Zealand. Speaking about England’s performance Cook said: “I think we are moving forward, we are trying to improve and we are going to have a lot of Tests to see that. We didn’t play as well in New Zealand as we did in India, that’s pretty clear to everyone but the performance in India shouldn’t go amiss I think that was an outstanding achievement.”


On his captaincy he said: “I think it’s pretty much in its early days, you really learn when you are doing the job you improve over a time. I am looking forward to tomorrow and going to walk out in my blazer on. To captain at Lord’s is an incredible honour for me and one that I’ll look back on with great fondness.”


He added: “We have a challenge ahead of us, they did pretty well in the three Tests in New Zealand, they are going to be a tough side to beat.” Asked if he’ll include the spinner Graeme Swann, now recovered from an elbow injury, Cook said: “We’ll pick the best side for tomorrow that we think is available to win the game.”


New Zealand are going into the first Test with just two practice matches. The second of which saw their bowlers struggle against the England Lions team with Joe Root hitting a brilliant 179 in the total of 444 for 7 declared. But their bowlers nevertheless are talented and promising particularly, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Among the new Zealand batsmen the left-handed Hamish Rutherford hit the first century of their tour and much will be expected from him as well as from Ross Taylor in this series.


New Zealand captain, Brendon McCullum said: “The series at home was really good for us, it was a great period of cricket. We were heart broken not to get across the line (win in the third Test). We learnt a lot as a team. But this challenge is going to be a lot different. England will be more aware of us and playing in their own backyard as well so we know we’ll have to improve as a team.”


He went on to say: “We know England are going to be a tough opposition. Their bowlers are more familiar with conditions at home and will be able to swing the ball a bit more so they will be a more dangerous proposition from their point of view and their batters are clinical at home from what we have seen recently. But we still believe we have got some guys who will be favoured by these conditions, especially our bowling unit and we know we’ll have to be on our game.”


(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)