England out to justify favourites' tag
Match factsThursday, May 15 to Monday, May 19, 2008
Start time 11.00 (local), 10.00 (GMT)
The Big PictureIt's the start of a new English summer, but the resumption of a familiar and unexpectedly intriguing tussle. This is the 11th consecutive international fixture between England and New Zealand, and there will have been 19 in a row by the end of the one-day international series in June. Nevertheless, familiarity has not yet bred contempt, and both sides enter this Test with plenty to prove after the hits and misses of their previous three-Test encounter in March. England emerged triumphant on that occasion after losing embarrassingly in the first match at Hamilton, and start once again as favourites, but nothing suits the Kiwis better than being written off as no-hopers. And no venue inspires touring sides more effectively than Lord's.
Test form guideEngland - WWLDDL
New Zealand - LLWWWL
Watch out for ...Ryan Sidebottom The Man of the Series in New Zealand, where he took hat-tricks, career-bests and every plaudit available. He's just been named as England's Player of the Year for 2007, after picking up 53 wickets in 12 Tests, and will be looking to make 2008 even more special.
Brendon McCullum Arguably the most explosive attacking batsman in the world today. He made 96 on his last visit to Lord's in 2004, but has yet to make a century against senior Test opposition. Last month's incredible unbeaten 158 in the IPL, however, showed just what he can do when the mood takes him.
Aaron Redmond New Zealand's top order was the weak link during the home series defeat, and the loss of Stephen Fleming has exacerbated the problem. Nevertheless, Redmond, who is set to make his debut, has a watertight technique and a burning desire to occupy the crease come what may. His six-and-a-half hour 146 against the England Lions demonstrated his abilities.
Team newsAs expected, England named an unchanged eleven for the third match running, with Matthew Hoggard missing out. Andrew Flintoff might have been back in the fold had his side strain not postponed his comeback, but the coach, Peter Moores, is keen to reward the players who turned the team around in New Zealand.
England 1 Andrew Strauss, 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Michael Vaughan (capt), 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Paul Collingwood, 7 Tim Ambrose (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Ryan Sidebottom, 10 James Anderson, 11 Monty Panesar.
New Zealand, on the other hand, are expected to make sweeping changes, both personnel and positional. There are three changes in the top order from the Napier defeat, with Stephen Fleming retired, and Matthew Bell and Mathew Sinclair omitted. Redmond comes in for his debut, along with the Northern Districts rookie, Daniel Flynn, while James Marshall is recalled at No. 3. Oram returns in place of Grant Elliott, but with McCullum moving up to No. 5, he slips into the conventional allrounder's slot of No. 7. Vettori plays despite requiring stitches in his spinning finger last week.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Jamie How, 2 Aaron Redmond, 3 James Marshall, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Brendon McCullum, 6 Daniel Flynn, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Chris Martin.
Tim Southee, who made his debut at Napier in March, scored more runs in a single innings (77) than his probable new-ball partner, Chris Martin, has managed in 40 Tests (74 runs at 2.55).
Quotes"I do expect to win, but we're not going to underestimate them. They're a good bowling unit and they scrap very hard."
England's coach, Peter Moores, talks up his side's prospects
"They are just a steady side and on their day they can be a very good side."
New Zealand's Chris Martin hits back.