England vs. New Zealand Second Test Odds: England to win two in a row and the series
Well, we finally won one! England won their first test match since August 2021, the third test against India at Headingley, and the relief was palpable. Now can they be like London buses and get two to come along at once? We've asked our own 'lord of the willow' Adam Roberts to preview the second test at Trent Bridge and give us his best bets for the occasion.
England vs. New Zealand Second Test Tips
That was fun wasn't it? After the depressing affairs that greeted us in Australia and the West Indies, England finally got over the line in a test match for the first time in 10 contests. How much of that was down to the new stewardship of Captain Ben Stokes and Head Coach Brendan McCullum is yet to be seen but England certainly played with a new found vigour at Lords.
One man who has been on the brunt of so much stick over the last few years is ex-Captain Joe Root. One thing that can't be doubted is his sheer class with the bat; Root has been imperious over the last two years and it's great to see him carry on his form when merely one of the rank and file of the test squad. Registering his 26th hundred, his 9th since the start of 2021, his first 4th innings hundred, passing 10000 runs in the shortest time ever and winning the test for England in the process was a huge moment for the Yorkshireman and you can see the weight has finally been lifted from his broad shoulders.
However, it wasn't all hunky dory for the hosts. The brittleness of their batting line up remains, as highlighted in the first innings, when collapsing from 92/2 to 141 all out. There are also some problems in the bowling line up. The trio of Broad, Anderson and Potts looked superb with the new ball but when the cherry dulls and softens we have no option B. Without the raw speed of Wood and Archer, the attack can look very one-paced and Matty Parkinson, although talented, looked a little lost at test level. He may well be replaced by Craig Overton here on a seam friendly wicket.
New Zealand have gone from the glory of winning the inaugural World Test Championship trophy just a year ago, to sitting in 7th position in the table and on the verge of being overtaken by England. They need to make changes (one enforced in the injured Colin De Grandhomme) here, to try to wrestle back the momentum in this short three test series. Henry Nicholls should replace Grandhomme, while Ajaz Patel could also be removed for Neil Wagner, after failing to make an impression at Lords.
Onto the betting and my first selection is the big one: can England follow up their first test win for eons with another immediately after? Can the World Test Champions claw their selves back into the series? They certainly played well enough at Lords at times to suggest so.
However, there appears to be something in the air at the moment around this England test side. Optimism. Whether that is down to Stokes or McCullum or a combination of the two, I don't know, but players are smiling again, the cricket is exciting again and I can see the momentum continuing here at Trent Bridge. The forecast is mainly dry for the five days and the Nottingham crowd is sold out for the first three days.
England will likely go with a five man pace attack here and as long as they bowl the right line and length with the new ball they should have enough to dismiss a fragile looking New Zealand top five. Especially now given De Grandhomme is out for the rest of the series. Broad and Anderson look to be chomping at the bit and with Root, Stokes and Foakes shoring up the middle order they should be able to accumulate enough runs to win again. I like the 11/10 on offer for them to do so.
Next up and I'm taking a similar theme to my colleague Neil Monnery in his First Test Preview by predicting no hundred will be scored by England, this time in the first innings. New Zealand will be bang up for this one and I can see the match going in the same vein as the first test. With Wagner replacing Patel and Boult, Southee and Jamieson also firing, it's a fantastic pace attack and they should be able to exploit the cloudy warm Nottingham conditions. England have only scored four first innings 100s in the last 10 test matches and three of those were on the flat, dead wickets of the Caribbean - a world away from Trent Bridge.
Again it's 11/10 for them to fail to do so here.
The last pick is part stats based, part nostalgic, part hopeful. I'm taking Stuart Broad to win Man of the Match at his home ground. What a couple of weeks its been for the Nottingham local. First he saw his beloved Forest win promotion to the Premier League for the first time since 1999, then he was recalled to the test side after being brutally dropped in the winter tour of the West Indies and Broad changed the game in the 2nd innings, taking two wickets in three balls, either side of a bizarre De Grandhomme run out.
Now, firmly re-ensconced in the first XI, Broad will be taking the new ball in front of his Trent Bridge faithful, a ground he has a great record at. No one can forget his unbelievable 8-15 spell back in 2015 against Australia in the Ashes and he has a habit of picking up five wickets in a single spell - when he is on a charge there is no one else to compare.
Broad has also picked up ten man of the match awards in his career - an extremely high figure for a bowler and two more than his great friend Jimmy Anderson. The 10/1 on offer is a nice price and I will be having a small nibble.
Enjoy the cricket and bet responsibly.
On Stuart Broad's birthday, we've just gotta watch his incredible 8/15 against Australia in 2015 🔥pic.twitter.com/rzrw5yGien— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) June 24, 2021