England (ENG) will take on New Zealand (NZ) in the first Test of the two-match series on Wednesday, June 2, at the Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, England.

The home side has been forced to introduce some new faces into their squad given recent injuries and their rotation policy. Big names-- Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Jofra Archer will be missing this game. James Bracey is likely to make his debut as a wicket-keeper for the hosts. Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson and Olly Stone have been included in the pace department. 

Meanwhile, New Zealand will miss the services of ace seamer Trent Boult, who will land in England only on June 4. Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson should lead the seam attack. On the batting front, skipper Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and opener Tom Latham will be the key with the willow. 

Sunny conditions will be on offer on the first day of the Test. Few clouds will gather on day two and three. Some showers are expected on the fourth day. The last international game that was played at the home of cricket was the second Ashes Test between England and Australia in 2019. 

A few days ago, the Lord’s wicket was full of grass cover, when the England skipper Joe Root assessed it. However, for the Test match, one expects the pitch to offer assistance for both batsmen and the bowlers, as we have seen in the past. 

ENG vs NZ Dream11 prediction

The hosts appear a bit depleted, but should make use of home conditions. That said, the tourists have been playing consistent cricket in the longest version of the game, which will make this contest intriguing. Considering all the factors, England have a slight edge in this contest.

Top tip: Best batsmen

Skipper Joe Root is likely to bat at no.4 and will be the mainstay of England’s batting. The Yorkshire cricketer averages just under 50 in 103 games, with 20 hundreds and 49 half-centuries. His recent scores have been-- 35, 36, 39, 258 & 197. 

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is not only the best batsman in his side, but also one of the very best in international cricket. He is currently averaging 54 in 83 Tests, with 24 centuries and 32 half-centuries. His recent scores have been-- 238, 129, 251, 3 & 89. 

Top tip: Best bowlers 

A Test match in England means James Anderson should automatically be first choice in your fantasy cricket teams. The 38-year-old veteran will exploit any seam and swing on offer. He is also the only pacer to pick 600 or more wickets in Test cricket. In his last three Tests in England, he has taken 16 wickets. 

Key Stat: Anderson has also dismissed Kiwi skipper Williamson on six occasions. 

Stuart Broad should be the next pick in the pace bowling department. He was arguably the best bowler on show in the English summer of 2020, picking 29 wickets in three Tests against the West Indies and Pakistan. Broad’s ability to run through an opposition in just one spell is a rare quality. 

Key Stat: Broad has dismissed Ross Taylor 10 times and has only given away 187 runs. 

Top tip: Best all-rounder and Wicket-keeper 

Without Ben Stokes, the all-rounder category appears thin. Clarity on whom to pick perhaps will come only after the toss. That said, Kiwi all-rounder Daryl Mitchell might be the guy to stick to. He will contribute with his seam bowling and can also whack a few with the bat down the order. 

Picking BJ Watling, the Kiwi keeper ahead of the England keepers could be more beneficial. Watling is clinical with the gloves and can also be a gritty batsman down the order. An average of almost 40 in 73 Tests speaks volumes of his ability as a batsman.

ENG vs NZ playing XI

England playing XI (probable): Joe Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Root (captain), Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Sam Billings/Dan Lawrence, James Bracey (wicket-keeper), Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Mark Wood/Craig Overton

New Zealand playing XI (probable): Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wicket-keeper), Mitchell Santner/Ajaz Patel, Daryl Mithcell, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner 

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Featured photo: DAVID GRAY / AFP