The cricket is back with England v New Zealand as William Hill release the latest odds and a new free bets offer on Alistair Cook’s men.
England and New Zealand go head-to-head in the first Test of the three match series in the early hours of Tuesday morning and it should be an excellent encounter in Dunedin.
The Three Lions have had a good tour so far as they have claimed both Twenty20 and One Day International wins, but this is the one they really want to come out on top in and if at their best, it should be another series win for Alastair Cook and his men.
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There are of course two Ashes series taking place this year, so England have to be on top of their game and build a great deal of confidence before taking on the Australians twice in a matter of months.
After coming out on top in India last year, Cook’s side should be in great spirits and despite New Zealand being on their home soil, will be confident of winning these three Tests comfortably. They are at 4/7 to take a 1-0 lead.
As ever, there cannot be any room for complacency though and with just three matches taking place, the first Test is vital. Cook himself will be looking to lead by example and get the innings off to a flyer.
When the England captain scores big runs, the side usually perform well as it allows the more flamboyant players – such as Kevin Pietersen – the chance to play their natural game, which is of course to attack. Both Cook and Pietersen are at 7/2 to be the top batsman for England here.
The key man with the ball for the Three Lions is likely to be James Anderson as he has been leading the attack for a few years now. If Anderson gets the ball to swing in the early overs, he is sure to take some vital wickets.
England have a number of young players coming through the ranks at the moment and the ever-impressive Joe Root might be given the chance to show what he can do in the five-day game after performing extremely well in limited over cricket.
As for New Zealand, they are in for a tough battle here and they have to show a lot more consistency if they want to cause England any problems.
Both the ODI and T20 series have finished 2-1 to the visiting side, so the Kiwis have shown they can beat their opponents, but struggle to perform on a regular basis.
You cannot talk about New Zealand without mentioning their captain and star man – Brendon McCullum. If they are to have any chance here, you feel as though McCullum is going to have to spend a lot of time at the crease. He has put in some good performances so far, but must also be supported by his teammates in Dunedin.
The home team are taking on one of the best Test match sides in the world, but they have to come into this series with the belief that they can take something from it. However, the bookies don’t fancy their chances they are at 7/1 to win this one.
It should be an enthralling Test match in Dunedin which gets underway on Tuesday.