Wednesday, June 23, 2021
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England Opt to Bat First at Edgbaston

The biggest positive for England at Lord’s was the performance of their two openers – the street-fighter Rory Burns and the classic old-fashioned Dom Sibley. Both saved the match for the home team across the two innings.

Zak Crawley was dismissed for a couple of single-digit scores and may be replaced by the talented Haseeb Hameed. The rest of the batting line-up should remain the same.

England might rest Stuart Broad – he was the least impressive of the fast bowlers in London. There is a good chance that Olly Stone would replace him in the XI. The right-arm fast bowler has played two Tests for England which includes one against India in Chennai.

New Zealand were in the ascendancy at Lord’s and if not for rain washing out an entire day’s play, would have been favourites to dictate the course of play and take a lead in the series. The performance of Devon Conway – who hit a double hundred on Test debut in London – was the highlight of New Zealand’s performance in the series opener.

Henry Nicholls produced a fifty in the first innings and continued to be their mainstay in the middle-order. Skipper Kane Williamson did not score many in London but the more worrying aspect for the visitors would be his elbow injury – he is likely to miss the Birmingham Test keeping in mind the final of the WTC just a few days after.

Rachin Ravindra, opening batsman who has been in terrific form with the willow and is also a useful slow left-arm orthodox bowler, may just be handed a Test cap at Edgbaston. He has batted in the middle order in first-class cricket and should easily fit into the number three position.

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