Tom Latham takes guard
Stuart Broad is walking down the hill from Kirkstall Lane End.
The teams are out
And it’s time for the national anthem. It is a recent innovation in cricket. Michael Vaughan, I believe, instigated this in this country.
Move over Edgbaston
England have won four of the last five Tests in Leeds, three by an innings and one, as you know, by a wicket. This century they won 10, lost seven and tied one. New Zealand won their last Test here in 2015 by 199 runs when Paul Farbrace was interim coach. Oddly, both sides were 350 out in their first inning and, stranger still, spinner Mark Craig and part-time twirler Kane Williamson took three wickets each to bring England down in the fourth inning.
Jamie Overton gets his audition cap from his twin brother Craig
There were a few glances at the huddle this morning that was joined by the parents of the Overton twins:
The step looks flat
Look to Headingley, not down, as they say. Ben Stokes says he would also have hit first.
England Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (captain), Ben Foakes (week), Matthew Potts, Jamie Overton, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad.
New Zealand Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson (captain), Devon Conway, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (without), Michael Bracewell, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.
NZ wins the bid
And it will hit.
It’s been 11 years since England beat India 4-0 and climbed to first place in the world testing rankings. Some of us may remember that India was a little psychologically drained from having won the World Cup a few months earlier, was onboarding a new coach, Duncan Fletcher, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook made grandpa two hundred and James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann were formidable. It was the last time England swept a series with more than two Tests and, notably, Broad (but not Anderson) will be there in Leeds this morning trying to do it again.
England are on the rise after Trent Bridge, but we must recognize how precarious the line they walk. If Jonny Bairstow had lost his leg facing Matt Henry after tea on the last day, many of the same people who were showering him with praise would have covered him in vitriol. When he tried to lead England to victory, as instructed by the coach and captain, on Saturday night at Lord’s, he was “stupid”. When it happened in Nottingham, he was a ‘hero’ who ‘torn convention’. Whose Conventions? It’s not his. We must keep in mind that there will be exciting successes when they cross the high rope and moments when they slip and fall. There is no one without the other for a team at this stage of rebuilding that has been encouraged to play so uninhibited.
Jamie Overton is a welcome addition to the XI. I thought Matty Potts played very well in Lord’s and the second round of the second test, but having a 90mph player at one end gives the captain a chance to play properly, as well as subjecting the opposition to pace (‘like fire’) and bounce.
NZ welcome back captain Kane Williamson, who is expected to return to Michael Bracewell, while Neil Wagner is expected to be the man to replace the injured Kyle Jamieson.
The bid is imminent. We will bring the team news as soon as confirmed by the captains.