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England is set to host Kane Williamson-led New Zealand in a two-match Test series which is set to begin this Tuesday, ahead of the all-awaited inaugural World Test Championship final against India on June 18 in Southampton. The two Tests against the formidable England side in their home conditions will be ideal preparations towards the ultimate match.

This series is neither part of the Future Tours Programme nor playing a role in the World Test Championships, Instead, this is ECB’s solution to give host venues and broadcasters an opportunity to host or show more cricket, due to the heavily incurred losses during the summer of 2020.

As things stand, the Kiwis will use the series to prepare for the WTC final. And while the tour was arranged, their place in that final was not assured, it was always a given possibility. Given the Kiwis will have time to acclimatize to the pitches and conditions. This is also Kiwi’s way of repaying them for their visit to New Zealand at the end of 2019 which wasn't part of the FTP or the WTC, either.

Can the Kiwis take the first win and boost their confidence? Or will the Joe Root lead English side cause serious dents in the kiwi's line-up?

Match Toss Time: 10:30 Local (15:00 IST)

Match Start Time: 11:00 Local (15:30 IST)

Match Venue: The Lords, London

Head to Head

Matches Played: 105, ENG: 48, NZ: 11, DRAW: 46

Weather Conditions

Chances of rain are high with conditions looking grim for a full five days of cricket. The match could be interrupted by rain, with showers forecast on Days 3 and 5. The gentle breeze blowing on all five days should aid the new ball bowlers. The average temperature for this match should be around 23 degrees celsius.

Pitch

The Lord’s stadium hasn't been used for an International game for over a year, with the 2nd Test of the 2019 Ashes being the last game played in this venue making the pitch fresh for a game of cricket. Though the freshness might initially suit the batsman, the Lord's pitch is generally a balanced one for both batters and bowlers. The pacers would get ample assistance from Day 1 considering the playing conditions, with spinners coming into play from Days 4 and 5.

Team News

Many places will be up for grabs, considering the number of changes being made frequently. Injury to Ben Foakes will come as a big blow to the management with James Bracey slated to be roped in as a replacement. With one day remaining, Joe Root also has become a reason for an injury score as he was struck in the hands but is expected to play.

The Kiwi management will look to play as many first-teamers to give them ample experience to the English playing conditions ahead of the final. The no7 spot is the only one up for grabs, making it a battle among the all-rounders for the slot. With Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, and Neil Wagner making up the bowling contingent, Trent Boult will be the only notable absentee.

Probable Playing XI

England (ENG):  Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Joe Root (C), Daniel Lawrence, Sam Billings/ James Bracey (wk), Ollie Pope, Craig Overton, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, James Anderson

New Zealand (NZ): Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Matt Henry

Must-Picks

Kane Williamson is New Zealand’s leading Test batsman and has been scoring runs on the plenty including a double hundred against Pakistan and West Indies. Joe Root has also been in the same stead, being on hot form earlier this year. James Anderson and Kyle Jamieson are our other must-picks.

ENG vs NZ Fantasy Team

ENG vs NZ Fantasy Team England
Cricwizz Fantasy Team

Captain and Vice-Captain Picks

Kane Williamson Joe Root England
Kane Williamson (C) and Joe Root (Vc)

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