Panesar returns to happy hunting ground
Match factsFriday May 23 to Tuesday May 27, 2008 Start time 11.00 (10.00GMT)
Big PictureThere is nothing to split these two teams after a truncated opening Test at Lord's, but New Zealand will have travelled north to Old Trafford heartened by their performance. They batted when conditions were best for bowling and restricted England to 319 when the sun came out. For all England's talk about positive cricket there wasn't an awful lot of it on show as the middle order failed to build on a century opening stand and the bowlers struggled for breakthroughs with the older ball. However, they have positive memories of Old Trafford having won three of their last four Tests on the ground and drawn the other with Australia nine wickets down. But New Zealand have shown they are up for a fight and with three of their big guns - Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum - finding form it should be another compelling contest.
Form guideEngland DLWWD
New Zealand WWLLD
Watch out for...
Monty Panesar Match-winning performances at Old Trafford against Pakistan and West Indies have brought 18 wickets in two Tests. He bowled well at Lord's without always getting the rub of the green, but is back on a happy hunting ground where he enjoys the extra bounce as much as the quick bowlers. He needs six wickets for 100 in Tests.
Daniel Vettori It could become a battle of the left-arm spinners. Vettori had an outstanding Test at Lord's and if the pitch turns he will come to the fore again. Even if the surface remains flat, Vettori is New Zealand's key weapon because he can both keep the scoring rate down and trouble England's batsmen. Is also proving to be an astute captain.
Team newsEngland have named an unchanged team for the fourth Test in a row. James Anderson did enough at Lord's to be given a chance on his home ground, although the temptation will have been there to utilise Chris Tremlett's extra bounce. The middle order is again under pressure after a below-par effort in the first Test, especially Paul Collingwood who has shown precious little form this season.
England Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan (capt), Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Tim Ambrose (wk), Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom, Monty Panesar, James Anderson
New Zealand could be forced into a change after Tim Southee picked up a stomach bug between Tests. He has been laid low for two days and if he doesn't recover Iain O'Brien and Michael Mason would be the favourites to come in, although don't rule out Jeetan Patel as a second spinner. The main concern remains the top order, but the other options in the squad - Peter Fulton and reserve wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins - have had little cricket in recent weeks. Daniel Flynn showed huge promise on the final day at Lord's, while the success of McCullum at No. 5 and the return to form of Oram means the batting line-up is deep.
New Zealand (probable) Jamie How, Aaron Redmond, James Marshall, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (wk), Daniel Flynn, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori (capt), Kyle Mills, Tim Southee/Iain O'Brien, Chris Martin
Umpires: Simon Taufel, Darrell Hair
Pitch and conditionsOld Trafford could argue that it now has the quickest pitch in the world and this surface is expected to be another with something for everyone. The batsmen will enjoy the ball coming onto the bat, the quicks know they'll get reward for bending their backs and the spinners can expect some turn later in the game. On the weather front it looks like typical Manchester. There is a forecast for showers on Friday, Saturday looks the best day at the moment with some uncertainty over rest.
Stats and Trivia
Quotes"I enjoy bowling here because the wicket has a bit of pace and bounce and my style of spin suits this kind of wicket and my record shows that. I like the pace of the wicket here because the ball often gathers pace after bouncing and it turns quite sharply - my kind of pace suits this kind of wicket."
Monty Panesar looks forward to his return to Old Trafford
"I have not really gone into the psychology of it all but you always want to go with a volunteer rather than a pressed man."
John Bracewell explains why he didn't stop McCullum batting again after his injury at Lord's
Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo