New Zealand look to turn corner
Match factsSaturday June 21, 2008
Start time 10.45 (9.45GMT)
Big PictureEngland's bristling one-day form hit a stumbling block at Edgbaston, escaping with a no-result in the second ODI, largely thanks to the faintly ridiculous regulation of having a needless 30-minute interval in between innings. Happily for New Zealand, and the public, such tomfoolery has been nipped in the bud by the ICC to allow the umpires the authority to decrease the interval if the first innings is interrupted. New Zealand were robbed, and showed a far improved effort after the first ODI - particularly in their fielding. Brendon McCullum brought out his calm alter ego in Birmingham, guiding New Zealand almost to the finishing line. For all their confidence this season, it has been England's inconsistency which has characterised their one-day cricket in the past few years, and they will need to be on their guard against a New Zealand team still smarting from their poor luck two days ago.
Form guideEngland NWLTW (most recent first)
New Zealand NLWTL
Watch out for
Luke Wright Members at Hove can testify to Wright's fearlessness, but England fans have had to wait a while. He cracked a fifty at The Oval on debut last summer but has since lacked fluency - until, that is, on Wednesday at Edgbaston with a brisk 52. Inventive at the crease and not afraid to hit inside out, he smote Michael Mason for 4-4-6 in one over - the second maximum heaved over midwicket with the authority of Steve Waugh. Peter Moores knows Wright's worth from their time at Sussex, and if both he and Ian Bell can fire in the same innings, Alastair Cook might have played his last one-dayer for a while.
Grant Elliott Weybridge's loss is New Zealand's gain. Elliott, plucked from the Surrey Championship, showed his more experienced colleagues the wisdom of bowling full and straight at Edgbaston, picking up 3 for 23 on debut. Tall, with a short, angled approach to the crease - not unlike Mark Ealham - England found him difficult to get away and he provided Daniel Vettori with control at a time when Wright was beginning to accelerate. He has huge, size 15 shoes to fill - Jacob Oram is still injured - but the initial signs are promising.
Team newsAndrew Strauss is clocking up the miles on the motorways. He has again been called into England's squad as cover for Cook who is still struggling with a shoulder injury. More worryingly, however, Ryan Sidebottom might miss his second game in succession with a stiff back, and England haven't yet ruled out calling up another fast bowler should he fail his fitness test at Bristol.
England (possible) 1 Luke Wright, 2 Ian Bell, 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Paul Collingwood (capt), 6 Owais Shah, 7 Tim Ambrose (wk), 8 Dimitri Mascarenhas, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson.
Oram's hamstring strain keeps him on the sidelines and his absence continues to hamper New Zealand's balance. Nevertheless Elliott showed impressive composure at Edgbaston to cement his place for Bristol. Gareth Hopkins will keep the gloves again, allowing McCullum to free his arms and play as a batsman only. Mark Gillespie gets a game in place of Mason, the only change that New Zealand have made to their playing XI.
New Zealand 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Jamie How, 3 Ross Taylor, 4 Scott Styris, 5 Daniel Flynn, 6 Grant Elliott, 7 Gareth Hopkins (wk), 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Mark Gillespie.
Umpires: Steve Davis and Peter Hartley
Stats and trivia
- England have only played five matches at Bristol, losing three of them - most recently against India last year.
- Paul Collingwood is the unlikely name at the top of the wickets list this series, with 5 at 7.60.
- Bristol is generally a high-scoring ground. India have twice reached the heights of 329, and (discounting Zimbabwe's 92 in 2003) the average first-innings score at the ground is 265.
Quotes"I think we showed in the Twenty20 and in the match in Durham how good a side we are when we play well. The boys are all confident and we all believe we've got a really good squad and we still have people like Andrew Flintoff to come back into that as well."
Luke Wright is confident England are on the right track.
"Everyone knows him [Brendon McCullum] as a guy who can get us off to a great start but it was a pretty composed innings and he got us into a really comfortable position. The fielding was also outstanding. Now we are riding with a little bit of confidence but we've got to make sure we take that to Bristol and don't let ourselves down."
Daniel Vettori senses New Zealand have turned a corner.