Top Picks: Watling, Archer to lead as New Zealand host England
Sportsbet.io identifies the ideal matchwinners for New Zealand and England in their upcoming Test series.
New Zealand sits second on the ICC World Test Championship table but plays England in a two-match Test series that isn’t a part of the Test Championship. The Black Caps, the second-ranked Test team in the world, are unbeaten in six Test series so far and aims to register their second straight home series win against England.
England, meanwhile, play their maiden Test of the Chris Silverwood era and aims to rediscover a long-term winning formula in Test cricket. The Three Lions have restructured their team for the series in New Zealand, and skipper Joe Root hopes his new-look team spells trouble for the hosts on their turf.
JOFRA ARCHER (ENGLAND)
England’s standout performer in 2019 has bagged 22 wickets in just four Test matches and is currently seventh on the leaderboard of leading Test wicket-takers this year. Archer boasts of an impressive economical rate (2.85) and is the odds-on favourite to end up as the highest wicket-taker at the end of the two-match series.
KANE WILLIAMSON (NEW ZEALAND)
The 29-year-old was deemed fit for the two-match Test series, having missed the T20I series due to a hip injury. Williamson, fourth on New Zealand’s all-time leading run-getters in Tests, has amassed 298 runs in 2019 at an average of 74.50 and is well-placed to go all guns blazing in the opening Test at the Bay Oval, his hometown venue in Tauranga.
BEN STOKES (ENGLAND)
A World Cup and Ashes hero for England this year, Ben Stokes will be the focal point of a new-look England’s Test series in New Zealand. Stokes, a Christchurch-born all-rounder for the Three Lions, has aggregated 627 runs from eight matches (with two tons) and 18 wickets, and is poised to wreak havoc on the Kiwis in the two-match Test series.
BRADLEY-JOHN WATLING (NEW ZEALAND)
The 34-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman is one of the reliable hard-hitters for the Black Caps in the gentleman’s game and is the fourth-highest active run-getter for New Zealand with 3279 runs from 63 matches. Watling hit a crucial 85 in the 2018 Test against England at Christchurch and is tipped to deliver a match-winning performance in the middle-order alongside veteran batsman Ross Taylor.
Words: William Paul