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England need to turn the tide

England need to turn the tide


England‘s Test record so far this winter reads played six, lost five and drawn one, so they would seem to be long overdue a victory.

However, their recent run of ten losses and two draws in 12 away Test matches does little to suggest a change in fortunes is just around the corner in the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch – in a game the tourists have to win to avoid a series defeat.

The Black Caps seam trio of Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner tore apart the England batting line-up in the first Test in Auckland and they will be eager to do the same again at the Hagley Oval.

Only four Tests have previously played at the venue, with all three of Boult, Southee and Wagner having enjoyed some success.

Having not been required to bowl in the first innings in Auckland, left-armer Wagner was clearly fired up in the second innings as he took three wickets, including bouncing out both Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes after they had passed 50.

He is 15/1 to be man of the match in Christchurch, while a slightly safer option is Boult at 39/4, with the latter having taken the honours at Eden Park.

Batting-wise skipper Kane Williamson led the way in the first Test, being superbly backed up by Henry Nicholls, who made a Test-best 145 not out.

The left-hander also made 98 in his last Test outing in Christchurch and at 24/1 to be named man of the match he offers an interesting long shot of an option.

For England changes appear to be the order of the day, meaning that the likes of Jack Leach and Liam Livingstone could be handed Test debuts.

That will add to the responsibility placed on the shoulders of the more experienced performers, including captain Joe Root.

He is without a Test century in 14 innings, although he has passed 50 eight times in that period, with his highest 83 against Australia in Sydney.

He is 31/4 to be man of the match while he will also be hoping for a big finale from veteran seamer James Anderson, who could be playing his final away Test in an England shirt.

Anderson has chipped away all winter in taking 20 wickets in six Tests to date and it would not be a huge surprise to see him finish the season on a high, so 11/1 to be man of the match at the Hagley Oval is certainly worth considering.

In the overall result market the draw at 33/10 offers the best possible return, but bear in mind that all four previous Tests at the venue have ended in a positive result, with three of those matches going in the Black Caps’ favour.

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Adrian Mills Adrian has enjoyed a journalistic career spanning over three decades, with cricket his specialised topic. He also has a wealth of knowledge on football, golf and tennis and has the stats to back up his betting advice.