Not just a warm-up for familiar foes
May 31, 2013
Start time 10.45am (0945 GMT)
The Big Picture
There is a Trophy to warm-up for and a trophy to win for England and New Zealand. While the other nations in the Champions Trophy prepare with ODIs against Associate nations or among themselves, these two sides have a fully-fledged one-day series to get them into gear for the next three weeks.
There won't be much they don't know about each other; this head-to-head began in early February and will not conclude until the end of next month with a couple of Twenty20s. They also, and potentially crucially, face each other in the group stage of the Champions Trophy so there is much to gain from these next three matches.
England emerged with the honours in New Zealand earlier this year despite losing the opening match in Hamilton. Ultimately, the pace bowling of James Anderson, Steven Finn and Stuart Broad proved too much for Brendon McCullum's side, although not without the captain trying his damndest to keep his team afloat. The series continued England's impressive run in one-day cricket; they've only lost two series - in India - since the 2011 World Cup.
At home, England have not been beaten in a series since losing 6-1 to Australia in 2009, and so will enter these three matches as favourites - a tag some are also giving them for the Champions Trophy. They have a settled side, although Kevin Pietersen is missing from their strongest set-up, and the only major debate revolves around the No. 7 spot.
New Zealand's lowly ranking of No. 8 reflects a poor run in one-day cricket since they reached the World Cup semi-final in 2011. There were signs of a revival with a notable victory against South Africa in their backyard, but the defeat to England at home was a setback. The batting order, which struggled in the Test series, retains many of the same faces and they will again be severely tested.
Form guide(Most recent first)
New Zealand LLWLW
Watch out for...
England's merry-go-round of the one-day wicketkeeper has stopped with Jos Buttler holding on to the role. He is part of what should be a dynamic middle order with the aim that they will be able to take advantage of platforms laid by a more traditional top three than used by some teams. Buttler's strokeplay can be breathtaking - and at times unbelievable - although he has yet to be tested over an extended innings at this level. His wicketkeeping is improving, but the challenge will come standing up to Graeme Swann and perhaps Ravi Bopara.
New Zealand are not short of lively fast-medium seamers of the left-arm variety. Mitchell McClenaghan has been sidelined since early in the England one-day series in New Zealand after some stirring performances against South Africa. Taller than the injured Trent Boult, he is a hit-the-deck bowler although he does have the ability to find swing. The white ball, in England, should be to his liking. Alastair Cook will need to watch out.
In the absence of Pietersen, Joe Root will continue in the middle order although it's difficult to believe he would have been forced aside even if Pietersen had been available. There may be a degree of flexibility about England's four, five and six depending on the state of the innings. The allrounder at No. 7 remains a question mark; Tim Bresnan would be the strongest bowling option although his wife will have a say in team selection when she gives birth. Jade Dernbach has been added as cover, but it would make sense to give other Champions Trophy squad members a game if Bresnan was unavailable.
England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steven Finn
There will be a bit of shuffling in New Zeland's order and some fresh faces. Luke Ronchi will make his (second) ODI debut - having already played for Australia - as an opening batsman and wicketkeeper. Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills add a wealth of experience to the line-up.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Luke Ronchi, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Grant Elliott, 6 Brendon McCullum (capt)*, 7 Nathan McCullum, 8 Daniel Vettori, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Mitchell McClenaghan
Pitch and conditions
Lord's ODI pitches are generally good for batting although the recent poor weather may mean some early life for the pace bowlers. During the recent Test, the outfield was on the slow side, which reduced the value for shots. The forecast for the day is fine.
Stats and trivia
- The previous series between these two teams in England was a feisty affair with New Zealand emerging 3-1, a result mostly remembered for heated scenes at The Oval when Paul Collingwood controversially ran out Grant Elliott.
- This is only the second bilateral one-day series between the teams in England since 1994. In 1999 there was the World Cup and in 2004 a triangular series with West Indies.
- Stuart Broad's current strike-rate of 32.20 places him eighth among bowlers with more than 150 ODI wickets
"We've got three games here in this very important series, then the Champions Trophy and we want to win as many of those games as possible. Winning breeds confidence and any time you have recent success over an opposition you take confidence."
Alastair Cook talks about momentum
"From a bowling perspective, I feel fine. That's the main thing they want out of me. It's got to the point now of getting the body right, I hope, without making too many predictions on the future."
Daniel Vettori is keen to get back into action
* May 31 8.00am GMT Ross Taylor had incorrectly been mentioned as New Zealand captain. This has been corrected.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo