James Anderson is poised to make history when England attempt to maintain their perfect Test record against New Zealand at Edgbaston and seal a series win.

Anderson is set to become his country's most-capped Test player in Birmingham on Thursday, surpassing his close friend and former team-mate Alastair Cook's tally of 161.

England's leading Test wicket-taker is expected to get the nod to retain his place in the England attack following a drab draw at Lord's

The Black Caps were unable to force a victory on the final day of the first match in London, with Joe Root's side showing no intention of chasing down a target of 273 after Kane Williamson declared at lunch.

England have won all four Test matches against the Black Caps in Birmingham, but this will be the first time they have played at the venue since July 1999.

Victory for the tourists would be the perfect preparation for the ICC World Test Championship final against India at the Ageas Bowl.

The game has been overshadowed by off-field issues, with England fast bowler Ollie Robinson suspended pending an investigation into historic racist and sexist tweets he sent.

It then emerged on Monday that a second unnamed England player is under investigation for social media posts he made before turning 16.

With Robinson absent, Craig Overton or Olly Stone could come into the England team. Jack Leach is also hoping for a recall, while fellow spinner Dom Bess was added to the squad for a match that will see crowds of around 18,000 allowed in.

New Zealand, meanwhile, will be without captain Williamson.

He will sit out of the match as he tries to give a lingering elbow injury time to heal ahead of the World Test Championship Final against India next week, and Tom Latham will step up to lead the Black Caps.

ANDERSON REFLECTS ON TOUGH TEST START

"My first ball was a no-ball and there were a lot of nerves there," Anderson said when reminiscing about his first Test appearance, against Zimbabwe at Lord's in 2003. 

"I remember Nasser Hussain didn't have a fine leg for me and I went for quite a few runs.

"No disrespect to Zimbabwe but playing against teams like South Africa, Australia and India, once you put in performances against the top teams in the world, that's when you think you can perform at that level.

"It did take a few years and a few tours around the world to make me think I could do it."

Anderson finished his debut with figures of 5-73. His tally of 616 wickets heading into Thursday's match means he is the most successful fast bowler in history.

KANE OUT BUT LATHAM MORE THAN ABLE

"It is not an easy decision for Kane to have to miss a Test, but we think it is the right one," said New Zealand coach Gary Stead.

"He's had an injection in his elbow to relieve the irritation he's been experiencing when he bats and a period of rest and rehabilitation will help maximise his recovery."

Williamson will be a big miss for the tourists, but Latham has plenty of experience. The opener averages 41.97 across 57 Tests, though he could not build on starts in the first Test as he scored 23 and 36.

Meanwhile, paceman Trent Boult could be in line to return, as he looks to regain some match sharpness ahead of the India showdown.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Anderson is four wickets away from eclipsing India's Anil Kumble (619) as the third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.

- New Zealand's Latham (3,988 – 99 innings) is 12 runs shy from becoming the ninth Black Caps player to register 4,000 runs in Test cricket.

- Joe Root has scored 4,105 runs in Tests since the beginning of July 2017 when he played his first match as England captain; his tally is the most by any player in that time (Virat Kohli – 2,993).

- New Zealand are undefeated in their last six Tests against England (W3, D3), the last time they recorded a longer unbeaten run against them was an 11-match span from January 1984 to June 1990 (W2, D9).

New Zealand will rest captain Kane Williamson in the second Test against England, meaning opening batsman Tom Latham will skipper the side.

After the opening encounter was drawn, the two-match series will be decided at Edgbaston from Thursday.

But New Zealand will be without world number one Test batsman Williamson, who registered scores of 13 and 1 in the opener at Lord's.

He will sit out of the match as he tries to give a lingering elbow injury time to heal ahead of World Test Championship Final against India next week.

Latham will therefore lead the team for the third time in his career and Will Young, who has just two Test innings to his name, has been brought into the starting XI to bat at number three.

"It is not an easy decision for Kane to have to miss a Test, but we think it is the right one," said New Zealand coach Gary Stead.

"He’s had an injection in his elbow to relieve the irritation he's been experiencing when he bats and a period of rest and rehabilitation will help maximise his recovery.

"The decision has been made very much with the ICC World Test Championship Final at Southampton in mind and we are confident he will be ready for that match starting on June 18."

New Zealand are also expected to rest some of their fast bowlers against England ahead of the crucial match with India.

They are undefeated in their past six Tests against England (W3, D3).

The last time New Zealand recorded a longer unbeaten run against them was an 11-match span from January 1984 to June 1990 (W2, D9).

Devon Conway registered a century on his Test debut as New Zealand enjoyed a productive opening day with the bat in their series with England.

Opener Conway finished up on 136 not out to help the Black Caps close on 246-3 at Lord's in the first of two matches between the nations.

Ollie Robinson also made an impact on debut for England, the Sussex seamer taking 2-50, but it was tough work for the four members of an all-pace attack, with captain Joe Root contributing 12 overs of spin.

Ross Taylor's departure for 14 during the afternoon saw New Zealand sit at 114-3 after winning the toss and opting to bat, but Henry Nicholls combined with Conway to share an unbroken stand worth 132 as England faded.

As he matched former captain Alastair Cook's England record of 161 Test appearances, James Anderson once again dismissed Kane Williamson in the format, the New Zealand captain seeing a defensive push only end up sending the ball back onto his stumps to depart for 13.

Tom Latham also perished via an inside edge, the opener the only wicket to fall in the first session when bowled by Robinson for 23.

However, Conway dazzled in the London sunshine, becoming the 12th New Zealander to mark their maiden Test outing with a century.

The 29-year-old was born in South Africa but cleared to play for New Zealand in August 2020. He had already impressed in white-ball cricket at the highest level prior to his opportunity in the longest format.

His milestone moment arrived in the final session courtesy of a flamboyant flick off his pads through the leg side, one of 16 boundaries the left-hander struck in a composed innings that has so far spanned 240 deliveries.

Nicholls was 46 not out at stumps, happy to play second fiddle to his new team-mate as the Black Caps built the foundations for a big first-innings score.

From fast starts to playing the long game 

Conway - the 281st player to represent New Zealand in Test cricket – had already featured in three one-dayers and 14 Twenty20 games in his international career. Indeed, his T20 batting average (59.1) is the highest of any of the 528 players to make at least 10 appearances. 

His first Test chance saw him set a record too, as he moved beyond Williamson's 131 against India in November 2010 to post the highest score by a Black Caps debutant made outside of New Zealand. 

Anderson able to get Kane once again 

As a busy home schedule that includes a five-match series against India got off to a tough start, Anderson provided a rare moment of success for England by getting rid of Williamson straight after lunch. 

He has now dismissed the right-hander seven times in Tests, the most by any bowler. Indeed, no other New Zealand batsman has fallen to Anderson on more occasions in the format.

Kane Williamson says New Zealand will not be fuelled by the opportunity to gain revenge when they face England at Lord's for the first time since the dramatic Cricket World Cup final.

The Black Caps and England start a two-match Test series at the famous venue on Wednesday.

It is almost two years since England beat New Zealand to win the World Cup for the first time following a tense Super Over in London.

New Zealand captain Williamson is looking forward rather than dwelling on that incredible day, with his side attempting to stretch their longest winning run in the Test format to seven matches at the expense of Joe Root's depleted team.

Asked if the tourists owe England a defeat, Williamson replied: "It was a fantastic game of cricket [the World Cup final] but it's a different side and it's been some time since that day, so our focus is different.

"It's the cricket we want to play as a Test side, there's certainly no thought about owing anybody anything. We were both part of a fantastic game that was decided by largely things outside of both of our teams' control. It was a special game to be a part of but looking forward to the Test here tomorrow."

Williamson added: "The experience was thought of fondly, although it was emotional to a certain extent and at the time to think back and being involved in that match.

"Some of the controversies that surrounded it and drama, all these things that come with tournament cricket and some of the fine margins that we saw in that game. You look back on it fondly and having that match played at a ground like Lord's I suppose just adds to it.

"The guys are really excited to be back here, it's always a pleasure to have the opportunity to play at Lord's and we're looking forward to the next challenge - which is starting tomorrow."

 

Bracey to make debut, Anderson set to equal Cook record

Wicketkeeper-batsman James Bracey will make his England debut with both Jos Buttler, who is among several players to be rested after a period of isolation following the early end of the Indian Premier League, and the injured Ben Foakes not available.

Root has named Stuart Broad as his vice-captain for a series that will see the hosts without all-rounder Ben Stokes, absent due to a fractured finger.

Seamer Ollie Robinson will be hoping to get the chance to impress in Test cricket, while Craig Overton is in contention for a recall following an excellent start to the county season for Somerset.

Meanwhile, James Anderson will match Alastair Cook's record of 161 England Test caps if he is named in the side.

 

Black Caps eye long-awaited Lord’s win

New Zealand have won only one Test at Lord's and that was back in July 1999.

England have beaten them eight times at the famous venue, while eight of the previous 17 contests have ended in a draw.

The tourists face India in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl after taking on England twice. They have not won a Test series in England since a 2-1 victory 22 years ago.

 

Key Opta facts

- Williamson needs just 58 runs to become the second-highest run-scorer for the Black Caps in men's Test cricket. Ross Taylor (7,379) and Stephen Fleming (7,172) are the only New Zealanders to manage more than Williamson (7,115) in the format.

- Since the start of 2020, Root has scored 1,258 runs at an average of 54.7 in Tests. His tally of runs is 414 more than any other player during this period.

- Black Caps paceman Kyle Jamieson has a strike rate of 33.3 with the ball in Tests since the start of last year. Only two players (minimum 50 overs bowled) have a better rate in that time (Hasan Ali – 25.8 and Axar Patel – 28.3)

- England have lost only one of their last 10 Tests against New Zealand on home soil (W8, D1); however, that defeat was their most recent meeting (lost by 199 runs at Headingley in May 2015)

Kane Williamson has been appointed as Sunrisers Hyderabad captain for the remainder of the Indian Premier League after David Warner was axed.

It appears Warner will also be dropped by the struggling Sunrisers for Sunday's game against the Rajasthan Royals after the franchise revealed a change to the overseas combination will be made.

Warner scored a half-century in a midweek defeat to the Chennai Super Kings, but took "full responsibility" for the loss as he "batted too slowly."

The Australia batsman had previously questioned the decision to omit Manish Pandey from the team and Warner could now find himself out of the side, with Jason Roy awaiting his chance.

Sunrisers are rooted to the bottom of the table with five defeats from six matches and New Zealand skipper Williamson will lead them for the rest of the tournament.

A statement released by the franchise on Saturday said: "Sunrisers Hyderabad would like to announce that Kane Williamson will be taking over the captaincy for tomorrow's match and for the remainder of the IPL 2021.

"The team management has also made the decision that they will be changing the overseas combination for tomorrow's match against Rajasthan Royals.

"This decision has not come lightly as the management respects the enormous impact David Warner has had for the franchise over a number of years.

"As we face the remainder of the season, we are sure David will help us thrive for success both on and off the field."

Axar Patel hit the ground running as Delhi Capitals claimed a dramatic Super Over victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.

The Capitals posted 159-4 on a slow pitch at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Prithvi Shaw top-scoring with 53 from 39 balls and Rishabh Pant (37) and Steve Smith (34) both adding handy contributions.

Sunrisers looked beaten when Axar took two wickets in as many balls to reduce them to 117-6 in the 17th over, but Kane Williamson's unbeaten 66 from 51 deliveries kept them in the hunt.

They needed 16 to win off the last over from Kagiso Rabada and forced the Super Over after a boundary from Williamson and Jagadeesha Suchith's huge six over midwicket.

Williamson and David Warner were then restricted to just seven runs by Axar, who was handed the ball for the Super Over in his first match of the tournament after recovering from coronavirus.

Sunrisers were deducted a run as Warner's bat did not cross the line as he scampered back for a second off the final ball of Axar's over.

Shikhar Dhawan struck a boundary before he and Pant went through for a third leg bye of Rashid Khan's decisive over to secure a fourth victory from five matches for second-placed Delhi, who are level on points with leaders Chennai Super Kings.

Williamson did not deserve to be on the losing side after making an excellent half-century following Jonny Bairstow's blistering 38 from 18 balls, which included four sixes. Avesh Khan claimed 3-34 for the Daredevils.

 

Shaw steps up at the top of the order

The first three balls of the match sent down by Khaleel Ahmed were dispatched for four by Shaw and the Capitals had 26 on the board after two overs.

Shaw reached his half-century off 35 balls, with Dhawan bowled by Rashid Khan for 28 to end an opening stand of 81 in the 11th over.

Pant and Smith struck a six apiece after Shaw was run out, putting on 58 for the third wicket on a slow track with runs not easy to come by.

Axar makes up for lost time

Spinner Axar was stuck in quarantine as the Capitals made a promising start to the season following a positive COVID-19 test that brought him back down to earth after an outstanding Test series against England.

Avesh Khan removed Bairstow immediately after the England wicketkeeper-batsman hit him for six, after Warner had been run out for six, and the same bowler also saw the back of Virat Singh.

Axar was on a hat-trick after trapping Abhishek Sharma and Rashid Khan in the 17th over, and he bowled a tight Super Over to ensure Williamson's brilliant knock was in vain.

Martin Guptill blasted New Zealand to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory in the decisive fifth Twenty20 international against Australia to secure a 3-2 series triumph on Sunday.

The Black Caps restricted Australia to 142-8 from their 20 overs after the visitors won the toss and elected to bat in Wellington, with Ish Sodhi taking 3-24.

Guptill (71 from 46 balls) eased any anxiety about a smaller run chase on a pitch being used for the third time this series, with New Zealand claiming victory with 27 balls to spare.

New Zealand's successful chase bucked the series trend of the side batting first winning every game.

Australia captain Aaron Finch said: "We probably just weren't aggressive enough with the bat. We probably let them dictate slightly, but we didn't get enough runs and kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

"A couple of us put a fair bit of time into our innings, 20, 30, 40 balls and then to not go on with that it was probably the difference in the game. If one of us gets 60 or 70, that might be a 160-170 score and then you're a couple of good power-play overs away from really squeezing."

Sodhi was named as the player of the series, finishing with 13 wickets at an average of 12.07 across five games.

The win was set up by a disciplined bowling display led by Sodhi, while Trent Boult (2-26 with 10 dot balls) did early damage, Mitchell Santner (0-21 with 10 dots) was tight and Tim Southee (2-38 with eight dots) restricted Australia at the death.

Boult trapped Josh Philippe lbw early before Finch (36 from 32 balls) and Matthew Wade (44 from 29 balls) put together a 66-run second-wicket stand.

Finch, who came under pressure earlier in the series after a poor run of form on the back of the Big Bash League, managed one six and five fours during his knock, while Wade hit two maximums and three fours.

Sodhi got the breakthrough with Finch slicing to Santner at point, leaving Australia 74-2 after 10 overs before the innings fell away, with Glenn Maxwell falling for one, Ashton Agar for six and Mitchell Marsh for 10.

Australia lost 68-6 in the final 10, including being restricted to 36-4 from the last five overs, battling an inconsistent pitch and tight New Zealand bowling.

Devon Conway (36 from 28) and Guptill combined for a 106-run opening partnership in the chase, before Glenn Phillips (34 not out from 16) finished the job.

Guptill blasted four sixes and seven fours in his knock, going at a strike rate of 154.35.

Riley Meredith (2-39) took two wickets in two balls, with Conway caught in the deep by Agar and Kane Williamson trapped lbw for a golden duck, but it was too little, too late.

The defeat compounds a bad 24 hours for the Aussies, after India's Test win over England on Saturday confirmed Australia would miss the Test Championship final.

Black Caps captain Williamson said: "Incredibly hard-fought series and momentum shifts throughout. Then to finish with three games on a surface, try and get a read on it was a real challenge."

Kane Williamson reflected on a "special moment" but insists New Zealand will continue to work hard to improve after reaching the summit of the Test world rankings.

The Black Caps wrapped up victory over Pakistan by an innings and 176 runs on day four at Hagley Oval on Wednesday to seal a 2-0 series win and become the top-ranked Test nation for the first time.

Kyle Jamieson took 6-48 and had 11 wickets in the game to take the Man of the Match award as Pakistan were bowled out for 186 in their second innings.

New Zealand have now won six straight Tests for the first time and swept three consecutive home series', but captain Williamson still wants to see his side kick on.

"It's hard to beat really, I don't know how the rankings work exactly I know they span over a period of time, to achieve that standing means there's been a lot of hard work over a lot of matches, and trainings and all these sort of things to reach that, so it's very special moment from the guys," he said. 

"It's hard to talk about until the Test summer was over, so it's nice to sit back and perhaps take a moment and enjoy the moment.

"I sort of mentioned before in the after match [presentation] that the game is truly a game of small margins. 

"As a side we're pleased with the efforts that went into these last two games but we know the quality side Pakistan have and there were definitely moments in both games that went our way or perhaps moments that we seized and went a long way to putting the result in our favour. 

"It's a game of small margins, guys respect that and it's about working harder and harder to move forward as a collective. 

"We know our next matches will be overseas tours, and just constant adjustments, tinkering to try and perform well in those matches."

For Jamieson, it has been a superb start to Test cricket and he now has four five-fors in six Tests.

"He's a special talent but his attitude, the way he's come in and try to add to the group on or off the field is the most impressive thing. In many ways he's leading and that's great," Williamson added.

"Cricket is an interesting game and something Kyle is extremely good at with bat and ball, a very, very special talent. 

"I think if he continues to, and I'm sure he will he's got great head on his shoulders, bring that great attitude he has - things have come very thick and fast for Kyle and that's a really enjoyable part to the game, something he's learning about and learning about himself.

"But he has a strong desire to improve and pick the brains of the senior guys who have been around a long time. He's a humble guy who wants to get better, I've no doubt he will."

Kane Williamson and a hobbling Henry Nicholls put on a batting masterclass as New Zealand tightened their grip on the second Test against Pakistan.

The pair delivered an almost faultless 369-run fourth-wicket partnership, the third highest for any wicket in Black Caps Test history, as the hosts finished day three with a lead of 354 runs.

After New Zealand had declared on 659-6, the tourists were sent in to face 11 overs and the in-form Kyle Jamieson removed Shan Masood as Pakistan closed day three on 8-1.

Williamson had earlier posted another two blistering sessions to score a brilliant 238 and become the quickest of three New Zealanders to score 7,000 career Test runs.

The world’s top-ranked Test batsman notched his fourth Test double century and was supported by a gutsy 157 from Nicholls, who was hampered by a calf strain while bringing up his third Test 150.

Nicholls pushed through the pain barrier on his home ground at Hagley Oval to join Brendon McCullum as the only players with two Test hundreds in Christchurch.

Daryl Mitchell raced to his first Test century before the declaration, scoring 102 not out, as New Zealand recorded their fifth highest all-time Test total.

Starting the day 11 runs behind the tourists’ first-innings total, the hosts picked up where they left off yesterday with Nicholls bringing up his century off 213 balls for 315-3.

Limping between the creases, Nicholls dug deep to navigate the new ball and went on the attack, hitting the first six of the innings, as Williamson surged past 7,000 career Test runs.

The Black Caps skipper was once again putting on a clinic, punching his 21st boundary back past Naseem Shah to bring up the 300 partnership from 459 balls.

The 30-year-old continued to rack up the milestones, reaching 150 in 247 balls, and bringing up 400 on the final ball of the session as the hosts headed to lunch 103 runs ahead.

Kane Williamson continued his impressive form to give New Zealand control of the second Test against Pakistan on Monday.

Williamson scored his 24th Test century and second in as many Tests on a strong day two for the Black Caps at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

The right-hander finished the day unbeaten on 112 as New Zealand reached 286-3, trailing Pakistan by just 11 runs, with Henry Nicholls (89) also not out.

Williamson, who moved top of the ICC rankings for Test batsmen last week, was scratchy early before accelerating.

He needed 105 balls to reach his half-century but just another 35 to bring up his ton.

It came after Pakistan put themselves in a promising position by reducing the hosts, who lead the two-Test series 1-0, to 71-3.

The wickets of Tom Latham (33), Tom Blundell (16) and Ross Taylor (12) had Pakistan on a high, and they should have had Nicholls cheaply.

The left-hander was caught by Mohammad Rizwan on three, but Shaheen Afridi (1-45) overstepped.

Williamson and Nicholls attacked as the day went on and Pakistan had their troubles in the field, the former edging through Shan Masood and Haris Sohail in the slips on 82.

Masood dropped Williamson after the star New Zealander passed his century before Rizwan put down an easy chance off Nicholls – then on 86 – off Shaheen.

Nicholls hurt his calf late in the day but managed to get to stumps alongside Williamson on an excellent day for the Black Caps.

Kyle Jamieson ripped through Pakistan’s batting line-up but their middle order proved defiant as New Zealand edged day one of the second Test.

The 6’8” fast bowler grabbed his third five-wicket haul for 69 runs in his sixth Test appearance as the tourists were bowled out for 297 in Christchurch.

Mohammad Rizwan’s side were reeling at 88-4 at lunch after Kane Williamson put Pakistan into bat and Jamieson recorded figures of three for 26 runs in a devastating first session.

Tim Southee made the breakthrough removing Shan Masood for a duck, before Jamieson claimed Abid Ali for 25, Haris Sohail for one and Fawad Alam for two as Pakistan lost three wickets for 17 runs.

Azhar Ali and Rizwan’s 88-run fifth-wicket partnership helped Pakistan recover from their morning collapse until Jamieson found Rizwan's outside edge and BJ Watling snared his opposing wicketkeeper for 61.

New Zealand will aim to continue their winning streak in the second and final Test against Pakistan, with Kane Williamson's side having the chance to make history in Christchurch.

The home team won the opening game by 101 runs late on the fifth day in Mount Maunganui, finally seeing off spirited resistance from Pakistan's tail with 4.3 overs remaining.

Victory means the Black Caps have now won five Tests on the spin – they have never previously managed six in a row in the format.

There will be at least one change to their team for their first outing in 2021, Neil Wagner ruled out with a broken toe.

The left-arm paceman played on through the pain in the first Test, earning praise from Williamson. However, he is expected to be sidelined for six weeks, leading to New Zealand calling up Matt Henry.

As for Pakistan, they are set to be boosted by the return of captain Babar Azam, who missed the previous game – as well as the Twenty20 series that preceded the Test action – with a broken thumb.

Without their talismanic captain, the tourists were fragile at the top of the order. They fought back well from 52-5 to post 239 in their first innings, while nearly saved the game despite slipping to 37-3 second time around.

They will be up against it, though; New Zealand have lost only one of their previous seven Tests played at Hagley Oval, a seven-wicket defeat to Australia in February 2016.

 

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

Williamson had a fabulous 2020 in Test cricket, despite the international schedule being badly hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The right-hander had the highest average (83) in the format across the previous calendar year out of those players to have had at least four innings, with his knock of 129 in the first Test – combined with Steve Smith's struggles for runs against India – moving him back to the top of the ICC world rankings for Test batsmen.

A career-best score of 251 against West Indies substantially helped his cause. That was his only innings in the series too, as he missed the second Test due to the birth of his first child.

PAKISTAN SET FOR BABAR BOOST

The tourists felt the absence of their captain in the series opener and still almost fought their way to a draw.

Mohammad Rizwan, who was the skipper in the first Test, said Babar was on track for a return, but a decision would have to wait until Sunday.

"He is fine now. He wants to hit some more balls in the nets and we'll decide [on Sunday]," he said, via the New Zealand Herald. "He's a legend and wants to hit some more balls because [on Friday] he batted very well. If he plays, we bat around him. He has a great impact on our team."

Babar, 26, averages 45.44 in 29 Tests for Pakistan, who are aiming to level the series.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- New Zealand will be looking to win a third consecutive multi-game bilateral Test series against Pakistan.
- Pakistan are winless in their past 10 Tests outside their own country (D2, L8). However, their last such victory did come against New Zealand, by an innings and 16 runs (November 2018 in Dubai).
- Tom Latham has scored 579 Test runs at Hagley Oval, 214 more than any other player at the venue and his second most at any ground in the format (696 at Basin Reserve).
- Ross Taylor is 13 away from becoming just the fifth player to score 1,000 runs in Tests between New Zealand and Pakistan. He would be only the second Kiwi to achieve the feat (after Williamson).
- Tim Southee has a bowling average of 19.9 in Tests at Hagley Oval, his best at any home venue. He has picked up five or more wickets in six of his seven appearances at the venue.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.