England have named an unchanged side for the second Test against New Zealand, starting in Wellington on Thursday evening.
Ben Stokes’ side claimed a convincing 267-run victory in the pink-ball first Test at Mount Maunganui last week, their first Test win in the country since 2008.
The seam attack of Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Ollie Robinson all impressed in England’s four-day victory, a 10th win in 11 Tests, with the trio leading the bowling line-up once again after being cleared to play.
All three enjoyed a light bowling session on Wednesday at Basin Reserve as they recovered from aches and pains following the series opener, with all three being selected in the XI ahead of Matthew Potts and Olly Stone.
It will be Anderson’s first appearance since moving back top of the ICC Men’s Test bowling rankings after his seven-wicket haul in their first Test, with the 40-year-old currently 26 wickets away from second-place Shane Warne (708 wickets) in the all-time standings.
England XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Jimmy Anderson.
Leach ready for ‘tough challenge’
Spinner Jack Leach had a quiet time of it in the 267-run success in Mount Mauganui, settling for one wicket in each innings as the majority of the damage was done by the seamers in the floodlit day-night Test.
If recent trends at the capital’s Basin Reserve ground are anything to by, with pace to the fore and spin reduced to a supporting role, there could be more of the same in the coming days.
“It will be a tough challenge, but it’s really good for me as a spinner to experience these pitches, to keep working on my craft and working hard,” Leach said. “Stokesy spoke to me about that.
“He wants me to experience all different kinds of pitches and scenarios. The only way you can make improvements is by being exposed to situations you’re not used to. That struggle can make you progress your game.
“It’s great that the captain wants to challenge me. Hopefully these experiences really progress my development quickly and that will help me in the future.”
Stokes: Sell-out crowds ‘another win’
After crowds in Mount Maunganui out-performed local expectations, New Zealand Cricket has already sold out the first three days in the capital. Stokes is taking that as a sign that his pledge to revitalise the format with a team of entertainers is bearing fruit.
“I’ll say we get sold-out crowds because of the way we play, but I’m not 100 per cent sure. We’ll take it as another win,” he said.
“I think the last game was a good indication of that. I think after the initial sales there were another 1,000 tickets sold on one of the days. Brendon (McCullum, head coach) actually said this is the best crowd they’ve seen in a Test match down there.
“I think that’s a little bit to do with the Barmy Army as well and the fans we get following us around the world, but seeing the crowds come in last week was a good thing for us. We want people to come down to a Test match and have a good time.”
Follow England’s second and final Test against New Zealand, at Basin Reserve in Wellington, across Sky Sports’ digital platforms, from 10pm on Thursday night.