Kia ora, good morning, and welcome to Newshub’s live coverage of the first test between the Blackcaps and England from Bay Oval.
While New Zealand attempts to recover from the devastating impact of Cyclone Gabrielle, the forecast for Mount Maunganui is much more promising.
There should be minimal rain over the next five days, with only today suggesting there could be the odd shower interrupting play.
With Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, and Matt Henry unavailable for selection, the Blackcaps have had to call in reinforcements to boost their bowling stocks.
Central Districts pace bowler Blair Tickner will make his test debut, with either Jacob Duffy or Scott Kuggelijn joining him.
Meanwhile, Brendon McCullum’s England have recalled veteran Stuart Broad to team up with James Anderson and Ollie Robinson in the pace attack.
TAB odds: New Zealand $2.50, England $2.11, draw $4.45.
New Zealand likely XI: 1-Tom Latham, 2-Devon Conway, 3-Kane Williamson, 4-Henry Nicholls, 5-Daryl Mitchell, 6-Tom Blundell (wk), 7-Michael Bracewell, 8-Scott Kuggeleijn/Jacob Duffy, 9-Tim Southee (captain), 10-Neil Wagner, 11-Blair Tickner.
England likely XI: 1-Zak Crawley, 2-Ben Duckett, 3-Ollie Pope, 4-Joe Root, 5-Harry Brook, 6-Ben Stokes (captain),7-Ben Foakes (wk), 8-Ollie Robinson, 9-Jack Leach, 10-Stuart Broad, 11-James Anderson.
Blackcaps’ Daryl Mitchell not banking on record-breaking series against England as return fixtures loom
By Alex Powell
After a breakthrough series against England in 2022, Blackcaps batter Daryl Mitchell isn’t banking on his past success when the reverse fixtures take place from Thursday.
Even as the Blackcaps fell to a 3-0 defeat to a resurgent England in mid-2022, Mitchell was a shining light for a New Zealand side that couldn’t match their opponents.
In three tests, Mitchell plundered 538 runs at an average of over 100 and scored three centuries with a high score of 190.
Those heroics saw Mitchell become the first player in the history of the game to score centuries in all three matches of an away series and score the most runs by a Blackcap in a single test series.
Fast forward to February 2023, and Mitchell has the chance to line up against England again, as the first of two tests begins at Mt Maunganui’s Bay Oval on Thursday.
But for the man himself, previous success counts for nothing the next time around.
“I think you always take confidence from performances you’ve done in the past,” said Mitchell.
“But at the same time, it’s different conditions, different surfaces, and probably a different bowling attack as well.
“For me, it’s [about] going about my business and doing a job for the team. Hopefully, if I do my job, it means we can go one step closer to winning games of cricket.”
Mitchell is also putting his hands up for a role with the ball.
After making his test debut as an all-rounder, Mitchell has seldom been used with the ball for the Blackcaps and taken just three wickets in his 14 tests at an average of 73.
But as the Blackcaps toy with the makeup of their bowling lineup, confirming a debut for Central Districts’ Blair Tickner, the 31-year-old is prepared to roll the arm over if and when he’s called upon by captain Tim Southee.
“For me, I love competing and getting into the game. To do a job for Timmy with the ball would be pretty cool.
“But I just love playing test cricket, and love representing our country. It means so much to me.
“To do it with bat, ball or supporting the guys, whatever. It just means a lot to wear that silver fern.”
However, due to the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle, conditions at Bay Oval are far from certain over the coming days.
Wet weather and high winds have largely seen the pitch remain undercover as the weather turned, giving neither side a clear picture of what to expect.
For Mitchell, though, uncertainty is part of the game that he’s come to expect.
“I guess there’s a couple of unknowns that both teams won’t know in terms of day-night cricket.
“But also, the surface here at Bay Oval has been under covers for a few days. It’s nice to see the sun out now.
“This is only the third or fourth test that’s been played at the Mount, so there’s always a couple of unknowns.
“But that’s the beauty of the game that we play. You can’t control everything, you have to adapt to what’s given to you out there.
“Hopefully we can adapt quicker.”
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