The first test tales place at University Oval, Dunedin on 6th of March 10:30am. Bookies have England as huge favourites to come away with the three test win and we can’t argue with that!
New Zealand and England will play their 33rd Test series against each other in March 2013, with the teams playing matches in Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland from 6 March.
England has dominated the cricket argument that started in 1930. The English edged New Zealand 1-0 in the inaugural four-Test series between the sides and the Kiwis did not enjoy any of the first 20 series, losing 15 and drawing the other five. New Zealand’s first series victory occurred in 1984 when it defeated England 1-0 over three games but, overall, the Kiwis are a long way behind the English.
England has won 45 and lost only eight of its 94 Test matches versus New Zealand, with the series standings favouring the English 22-3 with seven draws. On Kiwi soil, England leads the Test match ledger 18-4 with 22 draws and boasts a series advantage of 10-1 with half a dozen draws.
This year’s three-Test series in New Zealand will mark the first time that the Kiwis and England have competed for the Astle-Atherton Trophy. Astle scored 4,702 Test runs for New Zealand, including the fastest double century in balls faced when he reached 200 off 153 deliveries against the English in Christchurch 11 years ago. Atherton scored 7,728 runs for England and captained his country on a record 54 occasions.
Everyone Panning the Kiwis
Bookmakers are betting that England will warm up for this year’s back-to-back Ashes series with an away defeat of New Zealand. The English are trading at odds of around 2-7 to get the better of the Kiwis over the three Test matches and the tourists are around 8-15 to win the series opener.
So lowly do bookmakers rate New Zealand that the Kiwis are odds against to win one or more of the games in Dunedin, Wellington or Auckland, while the English are trading at odds between 2-1 and 5-2 to complete a road clean sweep.
And bookmakers are not the only group with a low opinion of New Zealand. According to the latest International Cricket Council Test Ranking, the Kiwis are the eighth strongest of the nine listed team on a rating of 78 points. England is ranked second on a rating 40 points higher and fairly safe in that position with Australia struggling in India.
New Zealand’s low ranking is more than justified. The Kiwis have not won a Test series in the land of the long white cloud against a half-decent side – Bangladesh and Zimbabwe do not count – since beating the West Indies seven years ago. New Zealand has lost its last three home series versus Test-quality teams without winning a game and, furthermore, it has won one, drawn eight and lost eight of its last 17 home matches against middleweights and heavyweights since upsetting England in the First Test of 2008. And four of those draws were in games that bad weather ruined.
New Zealand Conditions Similar to England
Coming off an historic victory in India when conditions were not in England’s favour, one would have to fancy the English to prosper in New Zealand versus mediocre opponents in a cricket-playing environment that is similar to Blighty.
England’s bowlers will relish the seam-friendly conditions in New Zealand and one only has to go back a few months to see how the Kiwis fare against high-quality pace men. New Zealand lost both of its New Year away matches versus South Africa by an innings, getting dismissed for 45 runs in its first dig in the First Test, not scoring more than 275 in any of its four knocks and averaging 163 in the series.
Provided that the land of the long white cloud does not rain on England’s parade – precipitation is a possibility in New Zealand at any time of year – the English should have more than sufficient time to hand out a comprehensive beating.
England to Complete Clean Sweep
The best value ante-post bet in the Test series between New Zealand and England is the English to sweep the home side 3-0, an option that has shortened in recent weeks but still trades at odds of around 5-2. The Kiwis do not have enough class batsmen to keep the likes of England and South Africa at bay over five days and the English are in excellent form.
Another tempting bet is a punt on former New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor to score the most runs for the home team. The Kiwis have only one genuine top-drawer batsmen and Taylor is that willow wielder, averaging 41.80 in his 42 Test matches despite being held back by the mediocrity around him. Taylor is the world’s seventh best batsmen, according to the latest ICC Test Championship Batting Ranking, sandwiched between England captain Alistair Cook and Kevin Pietersen. No other New Zealand squad member is listed in the top 30. Taylor is trading at odds of around 3-1 to be the highest scoring Kiwi when one could argue that he should be much closer to 2-1.