AND captain Alastair Cook believes potent strike bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson will again hold the key to beating New Zealand when the second and final Test of the series begins at Headingley this morning.
After a closely fought first three days at Lord’s last week, Broad, with seven wickets, and Anderson, with two, tore through the New Zealand order on day four to skittle out the tourists for a dire 68 in their second innings and hand England a 170-run victory.
Both teams struggled throughout at the crease though, with Yorkshireman Joe Root’s 71 the best score in a match which saw just four batsmen pass 50.
And, with five days of inclement weather forecast in Leeds, opener Cook anticipates the performances of Broad and Anderson will decide the outcome of the Test.
“If you can put the opposition under some pressure in the first session you can get yourself ahead of the game and luckily we’ve got two excellent bowlers at doing that,” said Cook.
“The last 20-odd overs at Lord’s, I don’t think we will ever forget that for how well we bowled and the atmosphere we created. That’s gone now, but we can take confidence from it and if we can put New Zealand under some pressure we can get the rewards from it.”
New Zealand will be forced into at least two changes with wicketkeeper BJ Watling and spinner Bruce Martin ruled out through injury.
Former captain Daniel Vettori was expected to come into the attack, but has failed a fitness test, so captain Brendon McCullum is set to select four seam bowlers, with batsman Kane Williamson providing emergency off-spin.