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England v New Zealand

Key selection questions for England ahead of the second New Zealand Test

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

England’s second Test with New Zealand kicks off on Thursday, with the series currently tied after a draw at Lord’s.

With Ollie Robinson – who took seven wickets on debut – currently suspended, England will have to make at least one change to their XI. Here’s a quick look at the selection questions facing the hosts.

Who replaces Ollie Robinson?

Craig Overton seems the most obvious like-for-like replacement for Robinson. Like the Sussex seamer, Overton has dominated the county game over the last couple of years and also fits the mould as a dependable No.8 batsman, having averaged more than 30 with the bat in first-class cricket since the start of last summer. Olly Stone is the other pace option outside the current XI, but his chances of playing probably depend on another quick being granted a rest.

Will England continue without a spinner?

A straight swap of Overton for Robinson, with no changes elsewhere, would see to England going into another Test match without a frontline spinner. What continues to hurt Leach’s chances is the lack of an all-rounder in the current squad – the left-arm spinner’s presence would reduce England to just three seam-bowling options in their XI, an unfavourable scenario in home conditions.

Will they make any changes to their batting line-up?

England will have been boosted by runs for Rory Burns and Dom Sibley in the first Test after a difficult winter for England’s top order. While Zak Crawley now has eight single-figure scores in his last 10 Test innings, it would still come as a shock if he was to lose his place for the second Test. Were England to go down that path, however, they could call upon Haseeb Hameed as a direct top-order replacement.

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