We now have a best-of-three one-day series. If there was any venue in the country where New Zealand could go to try and wrestle back the advantage, it would probably be the Westpac – or the Cake Tin as it is known. England have played four ODIs here and never come close to winning one. The most recent of those matches was three years ago yesterday, against Sri Lanka at the World Cup, where they did manage to post 320…only for them to be knocked off one down.
That is the sort of thing this England one-day side now does to opposition so they will be confident of finally turning over the hosts here. Their three attempts so far have been dismal: a 155-run defeat in 2002 (bowled out for 89), a six-wicket defeat in 2008 (bowled out for 130, and that eight-wicket mauling in 2015 (bowled out for 123). The Basin Reserve has resumed life as an ODI venue in recent years; England would probably like to play there instead, but will only get to train at the historic venue.
New Zealand have more to worry about going into this match, chiefly around the fitness of two of their key batsmen – Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor. Williamson’s hamstring kept him out of the second match and Taylor tweaked a quad muscle attempting to regain his crease. Regardless, though, of whether either or both are ruled out, New Zealand need a couple of their batsmen to lift with Colin Munro and Henry Nicholls making lean starts to the series.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand LWWWW
In the spotlight
Henry Nicholls has been given the finisher’s role at No. 6. He has shown some promise this season with three half-centuries but, having come into this series with some promising domestic form behind him, has started poorly. Twice he has been caught at point, low down in the first match and then by an acrobatic grab in the second as he tried to cut Ben Stokes. Four of his last five ODI innings have been 0 or 1. It is unlikely his place will come under pressure this series, but he could do with securing his footing.
David Willey would probably not have played the first two ODIs had Mark Wood been fit. He has bowled well with the new ball – a six-over spell in Hamilton and a five-over one in Mount Maunganui – but he has not been used again in an innings. With Stokes being back, Eoin Morgan has been afforded that luxury but it will be tough for Willey to forge a substantial ODI career if the captain doesn’t feel able to use him much beyond the first Powerplay.
Judging by the New Zealand training session, Williamson appeared the likelier to be fit for the match as he had a lengthy net. The balance of New Zealand’s attack will be the other question – whether to retain the pace of Lockie Ferguson or bring in a second spinner, either Ish Sodhi or Todd Astle.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Colin Munro, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Mark Chapman, 5 Tom Latham (wk), 6 Henry Nicholls, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Tim Southee (capt), 10 Lockie Ferguson, 11 Trent Boult
Jonny Bairstow went over on his ankle at Mount Maunganui – tripping on his own water bottle – but is fit to play. Mark Wood is also available and could be an alternative to Willey or Tom Curran although England may not change a winning team.
England (probable) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Tom Curran, 11 David Willey
Pitch and conditions
“It looked a terrible wicket, visually, but it played really well,” was Joe Root’s assessment of the T20 surface a couple of weeks ago, a match he watched from afar as he rested. The Westpac pitch was under pressure heading into the game after a poor surface for the Pakistan T20 but it defied predictions to play well. Last year’s ODI surface against South Africa was another iffy one, however, and how this one goes over 100 overs will be interesting. It will be third fresh strip used at the ground this season. The forecast is for a fine day.
Stats and trivia
- Five of the England side who lost the World Cup match to Sri Lanka on this ground are likely to play: Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes
- Tim Southee’s ODI-best figures of 7 for 33 came on this ground against England at the 2015 World Cup.
- It is over three years since both Williamson and Taylor missed an ODI for New Zealand. It has only happened six times since they first played together in August 2010.
“Every time you play at a ground, some players have good memories there, some don’t. But it’s another opportunity to go and do your thing. It’s a big game for us now – 1-1 in the series, so it’d be great to go in front and carry the momentum forward from the last game.”
Joe Root isn’t fussed about England’s poor record at the ground
”They have a good balance in the side. They played the same team as they did in Hamilton, on a different surface, but they know that’s their best side. It’s going to be a challenge for us going forward.”
Mitchell Santner on fighting back.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.