New Zealand v England: Third Test preview

The sides meet tonight with the series level at 0-0

Auckland hosts the final Test of the series at Eden Park where England will be hoping the wicket offers more to the bowlers, giving a chance of a result.

The tame surfaces seen in the series so far have meant England have struggled to take hold of either match, their first innings collapse in Dunedin leaving them batting for a draw and a stoic Kane Williamson and the rain keeping them out in Wellington.

Here, we look ahead to the final meeting...

 

Venue: Eden Park - Auckland

The first Test New Zealand played at Eden Park was against England, in February 1930. It was the venue of New Zealand’s first Test win, as well as the lowest total by any Test side ever – 26 - made by New Zealand against England in March 1955. The Ground has been changed in recent years, with the wicket moved to fit into the rectangular shape of a rugby pitch. This creates strange angles for the fielding side, and Alastair Cook’s aptitude for field placements will be tested.

 

Pitch

Historically, the conditions create pitches that assist spin bowling. The ground is also used as a rugby stadium, so the Test will be played on a drop on pitch. The ground has not hosted a Test match since 2006. England won the third ODI here in February to seal the series with a comfortable victory.

Capacity - 50,000

Floodlights - Yes

End names - Broadcasting End, Terraces End

Home team- Auckland

Other sports – Rugby

 

Who to watch

Monty Panesar

A bowling average of 87 and a strike rate of 222 makes painful reading for the spinner. Replacing the injured Grame Swann, he has claimed only two wickets in the series so far. The Sussex player will want to rubbish the theory that he only performs on helpful wickets whilst playing alongside Graeme Swann in a double pronged attack.

 

Brendan McCullum

The Kiwi captain has looked determined to frustrate England all series, and with a batting average of 71 at a strike rate of 93 is a dangerous proposition in the lower middle order. Having been accused of ordering poor pitches to be prepared to avoid losing rather than trying to win, he should be highly motivated to go for a result.

 

Stuart Broad

Took six wickets in the second Test, and looked like the Broad that has ran through sides in the past. Bowling full and straight to dismiss Hamish Rutherford and Ross Taylor in consecutive balls was the kind of penetrating bowling England will need if they want to win the series.

 

TV: Day 1, Sky Sports 1 HD, 21:00 (GMT)

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