England Set Sights On Statement-making Whitewash

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - England set sights on statement-making whitewash. Ben Stokes returned to training after a brief illness on Tuesday (June 21).

England Set Sights On Statement-making WhitewashBen Stokes returned to training after a brief illness on Tuesday (June 21).

There is hardly any dead rubber when a series comes under the World Test Championship cycle. Considering that both England and New Zealand have work to do to climb up the ladder, victory is crucial. But apart from those WTC points, there’s a lot more riding in this Test match for both the sides.

The new era under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum has gotten off to a spectacular start for England. And they will certainly view this as an opportunity to make it 3-0 which will not only send a statement to the cricketing world but also set the tone for the rest of the summer. The latter is important given what’s coming England’s way.

The hosts will take on India in the postponed Test match next week, just three days after the conclusion of this game. A 3-0 result will be validation of their new methods as well as a dose of the confidence booster ahead of a big one-off Test.

There’s a lot riding in it for New Zealand as well. They are the current World Test champions but the crown on their head now shifts uneasily. What would have hurt them the most is the manner in which they lost these two games. They had an opportunity to seize the key moments in both the Tests and ended up squandering it. And to end up on the losing side despite posting 553 runs on the board in the first innings of the Nottingham Test as a result of an extraordinary run chase would bring any side’s morale down.

If they do manage to pull themselves up from those morale-sapping defeats, it would indeed be a commendable feat. They’ve also been hit with injuries and Covid in recent days and it will be interesting to see how they respond to that. Kane Williamson is all to return and all eyes will be on him firmly. Williamson badly needs a top innings to get his rhythm back. Now is the time.

When:England vs New Zealand, 3rd Test, June 23-27, 11 AM local time, 15:30 IST

Where:Headingley, Leeds

What to expect:Light rain is expected on the final two days of the Test but the weather should stay clear for most of the duration. The most recent Test match at this venue saw the English seamers run through the Indian batting lineup in the first morning which helped them coast to an innings win.

Team News

England

The hosts have announced their playing XI. James Anderson has been rested following an ankle injury. England aren’t taking any chances given the crucial Test match against India is coming up next week. Jamie Overton will make his England Test debut. Skipper Stokes did miss training on Tuesday to spark some fears in the English camp but he is all set to play.

Playing XI:Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (C), Ben Foakes (WK), Matty Potts, Jamie Overton, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach

New Zealand

The good news for New Zealand is that Williamson, Devon Conway and Michael Bracewell have recovered from Covid. Kyle Jamieson is out of the tour but Neil Wagner is all set to finally land a game. Even though Williamson’s return does open up a selection conundrum, Henry Nicholls is likely to pave way for the skipper.

Probable XI:Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson (C), Devon Conway, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (WK), Michael Bracewell, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner

What they said:

“I suppose it’s hard being 2-0 down in the series. But there’s a lot of pride in that changing room from some of the performances we’ve put out over the last few years. If we’re fair we probably haven’t been at the standards we want to be as a group, it’s nice to have one game to go out and play like we know we can.”- Trent Boult is hoping to end the tour on a high

“Jamie’s been very impressive, the way that he’s bowled. We always want a point of difference in our side, bowling with serious pace and changing games as well. That’s the only change this week. As tempting as it was to get both twins out there playing for England, Jamie’s the only change.” – Ben Stokes on Jamie Overton’s inclusion

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