England seek inspiration from captain Pietersen
Match factsSaturday June 28, 2008
Start time 10.45 (9.45GMT)
The big pictureThe wheels haven't quite come off for England, but the nuts have certainly been loosened. After being swept aside remorselessly in the first ODI at Chester-le-Street, New Zealand have stolen the march and fought back with impressive resolve. The series reached an ugly flashpoint at The Oval on Wednesday, when Paul Collingwood decided not to withdraw an appeal for a run-out against Grant Elliott, the New Zealand allrounder who collided with Ryan Sidebottom. Elliott is now doubtful for the final match with the thigh injury sustained during the incident. Collingwood apologised, but his four-match ban - for a slow over-rate, not the Oval furore - further hampers England's plans. It leaves England's most influential batsman, Kevin Pietersen, with the task of trying to salvage a 2-2 draw in the final match at Lord's on Saturday. But as New Zealand's nerveless chase at The Oval suggested, they have peaked at just the right time.
Form guideEngland L L NR W L (most recent first)
New Zealand W W NR L W
Watch out for
Ravi Bopara For someone who has battered county cricket's bowlers in the past month, Bopara's nervous, fidgety performance in this series has undoubtedly been a concern. He fought through the difficulties at The Oval impressively, however, and at last notched a worthwhile score with a 78-ball 58. A superb diving catch to dismiss Daniel Vettori reinforced the return of his confidence, and with Collingwood absent, England need him to fire in the middle-order if they are to have a chance of drawing the series.
Daniel Vettori New Zealand's captain has cast a forlorn figure this summer, but his euphoric celebrations at The Oval marked a turning point in fortune for his side. Admittedly, their joy was one of relief - justice had been served after Collingwood's win-at-all-costs decision - but, moreover, New Zealand showed an icy calm resolve in chasing 246. Vettori can take credit for their resurgent form. Forever accurate with the ball, he has shown hitherto hidden qualities of tactical leadership as the series has progressed. He, more than anyone, will be desperate to ensure New Zealand finish their difficult tour on a deserved high.
Team newsAlastair Cook has fully recovered the shoulder injury which ruled him out earlier in the series, and is the likely candidate to replace Collingwood. It seems improbable he will fill Collingwood's No.5 position however, meaning Luke Wright could be shunted down the order.
England (possible) 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Ian Bell, 3 Kevin Pietersen (capt), 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Luke Wright, 6 Owais Shah, 7 Tim Ambrose (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Ryan Sidebottom, 11 James Anderson.
New Zealand have a couple of injury concerns which could prevent them naming an unchanged side. Elliott will have a late fitness test on his thigh, while Kyle Mills tweaked his back during a net session at Lord's. If Elliott misses out Gareth Hopkins could earn a recall and Michael Mason is on stand-by to come in for Mills, whose loss would be a major blow to New Zealand after his performances with bat and ball in the series.
New Zealand (possible) 1 Brendon McCullum (wk), 2 Jamie How, 3 Ross Taylor, 4 Scott Styris, 5 Daniel Flynn, 6 Jacob Oram, 7 Grant Elliott, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Mark Gillespie.
Umpires: Steve Davis and Nigel Llong
Stats and trivia
- England have only won four of their last ten ODI matches at Lord's, but were victorious in their last two matches against India and West Indies last year.
- New Zealand have never faced England at Lord's in a one-dayer. They won their sole appearance against West Indies in the 2004 NatWest Series beating them by 107 runs.
- England will miss Collingwood's captaincy, but moreover his runs: he is the leading run-scorer in the series with 149 at 37.25.
- New Zealand may be leading 2-1, but only McCullum appears in the the top five run-scorers with 114 at 38.00. Perhaps predictably, his strike-rate of 121.27 is the best of any top-order batsman.
"When you perform like we have in the last two or three games, then guys start believing we are a good side."
Belief is the key for a buoyant Daniel Vettori
"Captaining England has been a dream of mine but I also understand that I'm assuming the role in Paul's absence as he is the captain and leader of the one-day side."
England's replacement skipper, Kevin Pietersen, puts team loyalty ahead of personal ambition