New Zealand v England: Black Caps seeking century of test wins in Hamilton
Nov. 28, 2019
How long will it take New Zealand to notch the single they need for a century?
The first test win for the Black Caps over England in Mount Maunganui was the 99th in New Zealand's 89-year test history, leaving them poised to bring up a landmark ton in the second test starting in Hamilton on Friday morning.
But there could be a decent dose of anxiety for the hosts to get the century in the books as they look ahead to the rest of their test schedule this summer.
New Zealand has a strong record at Seddon Park in tests - they've won 12 of their 25 encounters there since the ground made its test debut in 1991 and five of their last six tests in Hamilton over the past six years.
Kane Williamson's side powered past England in the last three days of the Bay Oval test and certainly would have fancied repeating that effort against a touring side still trying to find its feet with some new faces, new tactics and a fitness scare over wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler.
But injuries to Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme have seriously reduced NZ's firepower and a draw that would still ensure a series triumph would be a sound goal. That could be helped by a weather forecast that suggests some heavy and thundery showers may land on Friday afternoon.
Following the conclusion of the two-test series against England at Seddon Park, NZ pack their bags to fly to Perth next weekend to start a three-test series against Australia.
New Zealand's last test victory across the Tasman came in Hobart in 2011. In the three tests since, NZ have lost two and drawn one - one of those defeats was a tight low-scoring day-night affair in Adelaide, while the first test starting in Perth on December 12 will also be a pink-ball test.
But before Hobart, the Kiwi tourists had lost five consecutive tests in Australia and they went 18 tests between a series-clinching victory in Perth in November 1985 and the seven-run thriller at Bellerive Oval.
After Perth, there are tests in Melbourne and Sydney.
Should the Black Caps still be seeking a century in test triumphs on their return across the ditch, they will face the world's top-ranked test team back home in February.
India has a 10-point lead over New Zealand at the top of the test rankings and the two games at the Basin Reserve and Hagley Oval will be part of the ICC test championship, like the Australian series.
The Black Caps have scored just one win in their last 15 tests between the two combatants - in Auckland in 2014 - and even the label of India being poor tourists here has long disappeared, with that Auckland defeat their only loss in their last five tests in this country.
Allrounder Daryl Mitchell will make his test debut for New Zealand on Friday, replacing the injured Colin de Grandhomme, while either Matt Henry or Lockie Ferguson will come in for Trent Boult, who is also sidelined.
England's side was due to be named on Friday morning too, with an injury scare to Buttler's back on Thursday a matter of concern.
AT A GLANCE
New Zealand v England, second cricket test Seddon Park, Hamilton November 29-December 3, 11am start
New Zealand (from): Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Lockie Ferguson. England (from): Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Denly, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad.
TAB odds: NZ $2.25, England $2.65, draw $3.55. Live Sky Sport 2 from 10:30am.
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