England make their first steps on the path to the Ashes battle with Australia when they face New Zealand in the opening Test of the series in Dunedin.
Both sides come into the match with questions to answer, with batsmen for both sides in the spotlight. Nick Compton is looking to cement his place as the opening partner for Alastair Cook and he will need to up his average from 34.66 if he is to feel secure. The conditions are likely to be seamer friendly early on and the toss could have a big say on the outcome.
If Cook can call correct, the pressure can be put on a New Zealand side who have never lost in all four Tests they have played at the University Oval. Breaking that stat will be incentive enough for England, while James Anderson is 12 wickets away from joining the 300 Test wickets club. He’s not going to get there in Dunedin, but he is England’s premier seamer and take him to come out on top in the England match wicket market – 15/8.
The batting market is a puzzling one, as Alastair Cook is a worthy favourite at 3/1 and it’s a dangerous policy to go against a man who just loves to score runs. However, Ian Bell has looked like a player who is coming into form following a tough trot. He can be backed to top the England market at 5/1.
Bet365 are offering a number of match bets and Ross Taylor jumps off the page at 4/5 to score more runs in the match than Brendon McCullum. They are the two marquee players for the Black Caps, with McCullum forging his reputation with big-hitting displays in limited overs. He is no one-trick pony, but Taylor is a class above and back in the fold after losing the captaincy, he could well be primed to prove a point.