England are finally back in Test action tomorrow morning as Ben Stokes’ side prepare to take on New Zealand in a two-match series.
Brendon McCullum and Stokes haven’t even been in place for a year but England have transformed under their guidance.
2023 is a huge year for England as Stokes and co prepare for the visit of Australia in the Ashes, which will take place in the summer.
But before that, Tim Southee’s men will prove a very stern opponent for England, considering they are the current ICC World Test Championship holders.
However, this is a very different England side and they blew New Zealand away 3-0 last year at home and have won nine of the last ten Test matches.
Plus, the tourists head into this one off the back of an incredible series win away in Pakistan, so the confidence is flowing as the squad fully embrace ‘Bazball’.
But there are concerns over the weather after Cyclone Gabrielle hit New Zealand’s shores.
New Zealand v England first Test: How to listen
The first Test between New Zealand and England will be held at the Bay Oval in Tauranga from Thursday, February 16th to Monday, February 20th.
The game is due to start at 2pm local time, which is 1am UK time.
The match is set to be a day/night Test with the sunset in Tauranga at 8:13pm local time.
Uninterrupted EXCLUSIVE ball-by-ball coverage of New Zealand v England will be live on talkSPORT 2.
talkSPORT’s commentary team consists of former England bowler Steve Harmison, former England captain Mike Atherton, former Black Caps Jacob Oram & Frankie Mackay as well as commentators Neil Manthorp, Jon Norman, Dan McHardy and Jarrod Kimber.
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You can also listen via the talkSPORT app, on DAB digital radio, through your smart speaker and on 1089 or 1053 AM.
England’s tour of New Zealand
Thursday, February 16th to Monday, February 20th, 1am – Bay Oval, Tauranga
Thursday, February 23rd to Monday, February 28th – 10pm – Basin Reserve, Wellington
New Zealand v England first Test: Team news
England have named their team for the first Test against New Zealand as Stuart Broad returns ahead of Matthew Potts and Olly Stone.
Broad wasn’t selected for the tour of Pakistan, but he is back and will bowl alongside James Anderson.
Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett will open the batting with Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Stokes and Ben Foakes following.
Jack Leach and Ollie Robinson complete England’s XI.
Meanwhile, the hosts have named a 14-man squad, which includes uncapped duo Jacob Duffy and Scott Kuggeleijn.
Kyle Jamieson was initially included but has suffered a suspected back stress-fracture, while Matt Henry will miss the first Test for the birth of his first child.
There’s also no place for Glenn Phillips, Trent Boult or Ajaz Patel as Southee shuffles his pack and includes former skipper Kane Williamson.
England team: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson.
New Zealand Test squad: Tim Southee (c), Michael Bracewell, Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Jacob Duffy, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.
New Zealand v England first Test: What has been said?
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, England bowler Jimmy Anderson said: “Ben (Stokes) and Brendon (McCullum) have been very, very clear since they took over that they want results. They want to win games.
“We are not 100% sure what the weather’s going to do, so we will have to wait and see but we will be trying to take the positive option whenever we get the chance.
“I have absolutely loved being a part of it. It’s certainly different to what I have experienced in the past.
“It’s been a real journey. Every single player has enjoyed it and everyone’s bought into it and we’re trying to push ourselves forward, and I am sure it’s exciting for people to watch.”
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