Second Test preview: England v New Zealand


Alastair Cook and Brendon McCullum's men will clash in an intriguing series decider, which gets underway at Headingley on Friday.

Daniel Vettori's hopes of making a return to Test cricket in New Zealand's series finale with England in Leeds ultimately came to nothing after he was ruled out on Thursday.

Former captain Vettori hasn't played a Test for nearly a year, mainly because of Achilles trouble, and was only originally selected for the one-day leg of this tour.

But a calf injury suffered by his fellow left-arm spinner Bruce Martin during New Zealand's thumping 170-run first Test defeat at Lord's saw Vettori make an earlier than expected arrival in England.

The 34-year-old, whose 359 Test wickets for New Zealand have only been bettered for the Black Caps by Richard Hadlee, bowled in the nets on Wednesday.

But Thursday, the day before the match starts at Headingley on Friday, saw Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum announce Vettori, a veteran of 111 Tests for New Zealand, hasd been ruled out.

"Dan's out of tomorrow's game unfortunately," McCullum told reporters at Headingley on Thursday.

"He didn't scrub up that well today and just the confidence to go into a five-day game, with the workload he's had, it was just a bridge too far unfortunately."

Doug Bracewell, who missed out at Lord's, will play at Headingley meaning the tourists will field four seamers, with spin provided by part-time off-break bowler Kane Williamson.

"He's been outstanding in warm-up games on this tour," McCullum said of Bracewell. "Hopefully, we get the cloud cover and our seamers are able to prosper."

McCullum will keep wicket at Headingley after BJ Watling was ruled out with a knee injury suffered during the first Test.

The captain who deputised for Watling at Lord's, gave up keeping in Tests because of a back complaint in 2010.

Watling's place will be taken by an extra batsman in Martin Guptill, who has experience of English conditions from his time with Derbyshire.

The Black Caps will need all the batting nous they can muster after collapsing to 68 all out in their second innings at Lord's in the face of seven for 44 from England seamer Stuart Broad.

England didn't make as many as they would have liked at Lord's, but it is how New Zealand, who on Sunday were six down for fewer than 40 runs for the third time this year, bat at Headingley that is likely to determine the outcome of the match and series.

"It's a delicate balance between not sweeping it under the carpet, acknowledging what went on and looking at where it sits in the overall progression of your team," McCullum explained.

"As I said the other day, I do feel we are making some significant gains as a batting group."

Meanwhile England captain Alastair Cook said Headingley was not the seamers' paradise of old.

"Over the last couple of years there have been some high-scoring games here and it's quite similar to Lord's," Cook told Sky Sports News. "If it's sunny it can be a nice pitch to bat on."
At Lord's, New Zealand matched England until their second innings collapse and opening batsman Cook added: "If you look at it without the emotive side of last week's game, it was nip and tuck for three days.

"We know how hard and tough this New Zealand side are."

James Anderson, who at Lord's became only the fourth England bowler to take 300 Test wickets, is in line to surpass Fred Trueman's mark of 307 on the late Yorkshire fast bowling great's home ground.

If the sight of a seamer from arch-rivals Lancashire surpassing Trueman is too much for some spectators, they can take heart from the inclusion of Yorkshire batsmen Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root.

Both players have yet to score a maiden Test hundred but a century from either one of them at Headingley would go down well with local fans.

<b>Key Men</b><br>Cometh the man, cometh the hour. <b>Alastair Cook</b> could do with a big, authoritative knock prior to the Ashes.

The absence leaves a lot of pressure on the seamers, with <b>Tim Southee</b> requiring a repeat performance from Lord's.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2013: Third Test: England won by 170 runs at Lord's<br>2013: Third Test: Match drawn in Auckland<br>2013: Second Test: Match drawn in Wellington<br>2013: First Test: Match drawn in Dunedin<br>2008: Third Test England won by an innings and nine runs in Nottingham

<b>Prediction</b><br>Online betting firm <a href='' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>Sky Bet</b></a> have England at 8/13 and New Zealand at 9/1 in the odds to win the second Test. Visit Sky Bet for the latest cricket <a href='' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>betting</b></a>.

More <a href='http://' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>cricket bets here.</b></a>

<b>Squads</b><br><i>England:</i> Alastair Cook, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Nick Compton, Steve Finn, Matt Prior, Joe Root, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott.

<i>New Zealand:</i> Brendon McCullum, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Peter Fulton, Martin Guptill, Mark Gillespie, Tom Latham, Daniel Vettori, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.

<b>Dates:</b> 24-28 May<br><b>Morning session:</b> 11:00-13:00 (10:00-12:00 GMT)<br><b>Afternoon session:</b> 13:40-15:40 (12:40-14:40 GMT)<br><b>Evening session:</b> 16:00-18:00 (15:00-17:00 GMT)<br><b>On-field umpires:</b> Maraid Erasmus, Steve Davis<br><b>Third umpire:</b> Aleem Dar<br><b>Match referee:</b> David Boon