Below is my pick from the early performance points picks in the England v New Zealand series that kicks off on Thursday.
England v New Zealand
A Cook under 51.5 runs @ 1.83 (Bet365) – 3 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)
M Ali under 58.5 runs @ 1.83 (Bet365) – 5 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)
R Taylor Under 50.5 runs @ 1.50 (Bet365) – 5 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)
R Taylor Under 85.5 runs @ 1.90 (Bet365) – 3 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)
NZ Over 570.5 runs @ 1.90 (Bet365) – 5 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)
NZ Over 388.5 runs in 100 overs @ 1.90 – 3 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)
A Cook Under 30.5 runs @ 1.83 (Bet365) – 2.5 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)
J Root – 99 & Over Performance Points @ 1.83 (Bet365) – 3 points
1st test between England and New Zealand at Lord’s
Coming into this series there is really only one batsman from England who is in form and can stake a claim to being a reliable batsman in their middle order to score runs but Joe Root. The young Englishman has been promoted to Vice-Captain for England in all 3 formats of the game, and it will be a matter of time, a year or 2 at the max when he will be made captain across all.
Today Joe Root comes into this series knowing that he is England’s most dependable batsman scoring at an average of 55 runs. With a team that includes a middle order of Ballance, Bell, Root, Ali and Stokes; it will clearly depend a lot on Root to hold this innings together. In his last 5 first class innings, he has knocked 50 scores in 4 out of those 5 matches, with high scores. Joe will be looking forward to returning back to lords where he averages 84 runs at this venue; scoring 591 runs in 4 matches with 2 centuries.
The New Zealand bowling lineup have been playing a lot of ODI and T20 cricket leading up to this game, which will bode some opportunity for Root to take advantage of. With Henry, Southee, and Boult not having some fresh first class experience coming into this game, it will give the English a bit of an advantage.
The Kiwis have generally not had much success in England, winning 4 matches in their history; so I expect the team to struggle a bit heading into this series. Joe Root could be the man to come to the foyer in this series, and with the new Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss giving Root his full backing as the next big player for England, I think we can definitely expect big things from him
Oh and not to forget, he will turn his arm over in the match at some point; and can spring up some surprises with a wicket or 2.