Cricket - Match preview: England v New Zealand, First Test

England v New Zealand, first Test of two-match series - Lord's: May 16-20, starting 11:00 UK time

Cricket - Match preview: England v New Zealand, First Test

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England captain Alastair Cook and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum (AFP)


The England selectors have kept faith with Stuart Broad and Steve Finn despite the fast bowlers enduring a frustrating tour of New Zealand earlier in the year. Finn has a particularly impressive record at Lord's and should retain his place despite Tim Bresnan having returned from elbow surgery. Graeme Swann has also recovered from elbow surgery and has been declared fit for the Test.

Brendon McCullum will make a late call regarding his bowling attack with Neil Wagner - who flourished on home soil against England, taking 12 wickets in the series - set to retain his place. Wagner has also impressed in the warm-up matches on tour, while Doug Bracewell is fit to play having recovered from the foot injury which ruled him out of the reverse series in March. Left-arm spinner Bruce Martin is on hand should McCullum look to dispense with a four-man seam attack.


England: Alastair Cook (capt), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn

New Zealand: Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Brendon McCullum (capt), BJ Watling (wk), Tim Southee, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult


England captain Alastair Cook: "I don't think there was complacency around, but we didn't play as well as we could have done, that's the bottom line. It doesn't matter what's gone on before or after. It's those five days. I think every Test series you play for England is a hugely important series, it doesn't matter what has gone before. We are fully focused on these two weeks of Test cricket versus New Zealand. We have to be at our best to win. It's great to have Graeme (Swann) fully fit after his elbow surgery, you want your best players available. I think you miss every experienced player who doesn't play. You can't buy experience."

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum: "They will be more aware of us. They're playing in their backyard as well, so we know we're going to have to improve on the performance at home. They will probably swing the ball a bit more than in New Zealand, where they also struggled a touch with the Kookaburra (ball). They will be a far more dangerous proposition. Their batters are very clinical at home, from what we've seen. We believe we have some guys favoured by these conditions, but we'll have to be on our game. It's pretty mouth-watering."

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The weather forecast is mixed over the next five days with rain expected to affect the match. As ever at Lord's, overhead conditions could be key, and it looks set to be dank and overcast for much of the Test. The previous match played at Lord's between Middlesex and Surrey was a high-scoring affair, but with rain likely to interrupt the match it will be a big toss to win for either captain.


New Zealand have won only one of their 15 visits to Lord's - the sole victory coming by nine wickets in 1999. But the Kiwis have only lost one of their last six matches at the home of cricket.


England win 8/11, Draw 6/4, New Zealand 11/1


Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak) and Steve Davis (Aus); third umpire: Marais Erasmus (SA); match referee: David Boon (Aus)

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