• England v New Zealand, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley

Vettori ruled out so tourists bank on pace

The Preview by Alan Gardner
May 23, 2013

Match Facts

May 24-28, 2013
Start time 11am (1000GMT)

Brendon McCullum will have to lead alone again against the England attack © PA Photos
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The Big Picture

At Lord's, as the threat of Graeme Swann and the left-armers' footmarks hung above an unusually slow and turning pitch, New Zealand imploded like a science experiment gone wrong against the swing and seam of Stuart Broad and James Anderson. With Daniel Vettori ruled out of the second Test, Brendon McCullum will now have to trust in pace at Headingley, one of the most capricious grounds in England. Even he's not sure how it will pan out.

Vettori's lack of fitness after six weeks on the sidelines at the IPL is perhaps unsurprising but, having elected not to call up Jeetan Patel, in the country and bowling fruitfully for Warwickshire, after Bruce Martin's injury, New Zealand will field a four-man fast-bowling attack of Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Doug Bracewell, with Kane Williamson's offspin for backup. When asked whether Headingley was as good a place as any to be without a frontline spinner, McCullum shrugged and said "I don't know". Perhaps he was more concerned about the batting, after a second sub-100 kneecapping of 2013, but given Wagner's assertion on Wednesday that McCullum would have Vettori to fall back on as he combines batting and wicketkeeping with the captaincy, his lack of conviction may have been reflective of a greater loss.

Vettori would have become New Zealand's most-capped Test player had he been involved but they will have to do without his great reservoir of experience - not to mention his great beard - as they seek a first Test win in England since 1999 that would help them square the series. For England, there is the chance to build up some irresistible momentum ahead of the Ashes, as well as seal the series.

For three drawn Tests in New Zealand, followed by three close-fought days at Lord's, there was little to tell between the two teams but, having punched a hole, England will now hope the dam bursts. Headingley has borne witness to some of the more inglorious moments of their recent history - Darren Pattinson's selection, Kevin Pietersen's unravelling - but, with Joe Root batting like a young Len Hutton, they will hope Yorkshire turns out in force to oversee another ecky thumping. The local bean-counters will certainly have their fingers crossed.

Form guide (Most recent first)

England WDDDD New Zealand LDDDL

Watch out for

Stuart Broad has generally struggled to string together telling contributions with the ball in Tests - only during the 2009 Ashes has he taken five-wicket hauls in consecutive matches - but as he tore through New Zealand for 7 for 44 at Lord's, there was genuine hope that he could sustain his golden groove. Last year, he took eight wickets at Headingley against South Africa, and he has the opportunity to prey on a psychologically fragile New Zealand line-up again.

Despite a stunning 171 on Test debut, Hamish Rutherford's returns since then has been more in keeping with the struggles of his recent predecessors as opener. He got two good deliveries at Lord's, which can happen batting against the new ball, and the form of his partner, Peter Fulton, is arguably of greater concern for New Zealand, but 88 runs at an average of 14.66 since England first encountered him suggests they have done their homework.

Team News

An unchanged squad is likely to result in an unchanged XI, given the way England usually go about their selection business. Steven Finn is still searching for rhythm, but cleaned up New Zealand's tail in the first innings at Lord's to prove that pace is its own virtue, though he could still lose his place to Tim Bresnan, whose local knowledge gives him an edge.

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Nick Compton, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ian Bell, 5 Joe Root, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steven Finn

Vettori was not deemed fit to last five days, so New Zealand have had a four-man pace attack effectively foisted on them. England controversially dropped Graeme Swann and tried the tactic against South Africa last year, only for Pietersen to be their second-most successful bowler, meaning Williamson could be in for some extended spells. Martin Guptill will replace BJ Watling and strengthen the batting, with McCullum dropping a place in the order.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Peter Fulton, 2 Hamish Rutherford, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Dean Brownlie, 6 Martin Guptill, 7 Brendon McCullum (capt & wk), 8 Tim Southee, 9 Doug Bracewell, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Trent Boult

Pitch and conditions

Despite being bowled out for 96 in their opening innings of the county season, Yorkshire have generally piled on the runs at home, with Root and Jonny Bairstow providing the bulk of their 677 for 7 declared against Derbyshire at the start of May. Although it could be on the slow side, when the clouds roll over the pitch can still do strange things - and there are showers forecast for Friday.

Stats & Trivia

  • England's last win at Headingley came against West Indies in 2007. Since then they have lost two and drawn one.

  • Stuart Broad needs nine wickets to reach 200 in Tests; three will take him past Jim Laker to become England's 15th-most successful bowler.

  • Three wickets or more at Headingley will see James Anderson pass Fred Trueman's tally of 307 Test wickets on the Yorkshireman's home ground.

  • Peter Fulton has made 34 runs in five innings on tour so far.

Quotes

"Over the last couple of years there have been some high-scoring games here and it's quite similar to Lord's. If it's sunny it can be a nice pitch to bat on and we will have to work hard in every session."
England captain Alastair Cook hopes to stay on the right side of Headingley

"Dan, Mike Hesson and I spoke about how Dan was feeling and he wasn't quite confident he'd be able to get through five days."
Daniel Vettori's condition is explained by Brendon McCullum

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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