ENGLAND warm up for the Ashes with a series against New Zealand. Josh Healey (@joshhealey04) shares his best bets.
England v New Zealand | 21st May – 2nd June
This series will consist of just two test matches and will serve as a warm up for the Ashes later in the summer. The first match will be played at Lord’s and the second at Headingley.
This ever-improving New Zealand side is one that cannot be underestimated, and there’s no doubt they will provide a stiff test for England here.
Despite not being a big price, the 10/3 from Bet365 on the series finishing 1-1 looks worth a punt. Since 2009, 11/13 Test matches at Lord’s have seen a result, with eight of those being an England win. Whilst since 1997, 14/15 Test matches at Headingley have produced a result, with half of those coming for the touring side.
It’s very early in the summer, the wickets will be fresh, and swing will likely be prominent. Provided the rain stays away we should see results in both games.
NZ are the better side at the moment but England are tough to beat on home soil, and with many players hitting form for either side it should make for a competitive series.
The New Zealanders’ preparation has been poor so it might take them a while to get into their stride, but you can be sure they’ll play positive cricket throughout.
If England can capitalise on NZ’s poor prep to take a 1-0 lead at the home of cricket, NZ should be able to bounce back at Headingley where the hosts have a noticeably poor record.
England will have to be wary of NZ’s potent bowling attack, most notably Trent Boult and Tim Southee. There’s a good chance these two will battle it out for NZ top series bowler, in which case Southee looks to be the value pick at 3/1 with 888 Sport, compared to Boult whose best odds are 5/2.
Remember this is the same man that blew England away in the World Cup with that unforgettable seven wicket haul; England won’t have forgotten that and they certainly won’t be looking forward to facing him once again.
Southee will have fond memories of Lord’s where he notched the only 10 wicket haul of his career to date back in 2013. With 12 wickets he was the leading wicket-taker for NZ in that two match series, which followed exactly the same format as this one.
Southee has certainly improved in recent years and after being outshined by Boult in the World Cup, I think it’s time for him to return the favour.