Richard Mann was on the mark in the first Test and he has four bets for the second Test between New Zealand and England, which starts on Thursday evening, UK time.
Cricket tips: New Zealand v England second Test
2pts Daryl Mitchell top New Zealand first-innings batsman at 6/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook)
1pt Michael Bracewell top New Zealand first-innings batsman at 17/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook)
2pts Ollie Robinson top England first-innings bowler at 3/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook)
2pts Matt Henry top New Zealand first-innings bowler at 4/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook)
Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook
England’s fine seam attack feasted on New Zealand’s top order when winning the first Test at Mount Maunganui, and that angle appears the best way into the second Test which starts on Thursday evening, UK time.
These two teams have seen a lot of each other in the last 12 months, England winning 3-0 when the sides met in England last summer, and a dominant performance last week strongly suggests the tourists can wrap up another series victory in the coming days.
New Zealand’s major problem is their top-order, with Tom Latham and Kane Williamson both struggling against this England attack either side of cashing in on some incredibly flat pitches in Pakistan.
Henry Nicholls doesn’t look up to this level, either, and though Devon Conway most definitely does, it’s the middle order that continues to carry a heavy burden in terms of the Kiwi batting.
Bet New Zealand middle order in second Test
As such, it’s hard to get away from DARYL MITCHELL who still looks too big at 6/1 for top New Zealand first-innings batsman honours.
Mitchell was New Zealand’s star performer in the aforementioned series in England, finishing with a staggering 538 runs at an average of 107.60, and three hundreds from three matches.
He just looks a very good player to all types of bowling, particularly strong on the short ball and very good on the front foot either side of the wicket.
It’s fair to say England don’t yet look like they have good plan to the tall right-hander, and he again looked in good touch for his unbeaten 57 in the second innings last week.
Once again, he could well face stiff competition from his partner in crime and first Test centurion, Tom Blundell, but the big prices about him dried up a long time ago and as a saver, I prefer MICHAEL BRACEWELL at 17/1.
Bracewell has been tasked with making the crucial all-rounder spot his own at number seven, and though yet to crack Test cricket, he made a brilliant 140 in a ODI against India last month.
A terrific ball-striker, his style of play would probably be well suited to England and their ‘Bazball’ mantra, and his brisk 25 in the second innings of the opening Test gave sign of the great potential he boasts.
Given the ongoing concerns about that Kiwi top order, and that Wellington has been a particularly hard place to bat in domestic cricket this season, the middle and lower order could easily be in business, with a brisk cameo potentially proving enough to win this market.
Bracewell is certainly capable of doing just that, and should early wickets fall again, he and Mitchell rate decent value to lead another rescue mission for the hosts.
Tough batting conditions will certainly please the seamers on both sides, and I won’t be diverting from the approach I took in the first Test.
Robinson to the rule the roost again
OILLIE ROBINSON was the headline bet in that preview, returning a good winner at 10/3, and he is the pick again in the top England first-innings bowler market.
As I said last week, that’s to take nothing away from James Anderson who has just returned to the top of the ICC Test bowling rankings at the age of 40. Anderson is clearly the most complete Test bowler in world cricket right now and deserves to sit atop of the tree.
But Robinson is now up to fourth in those rankings, and it is his ability to consistently pick up wickets, and how well he bowls to left-handers, that tilts things in his favour.
Excluding the recent series win in Pakistan on account of conditions there being vastly different to England and New Zealand, Robinson has now won the top England bowler market three times across six innings in his last three Tests, against this opposition last week and two against South Africa at home last summer.
He was most impressive when picking up 4-54 in the first innings a few days ago and with New Zealand expected to field four left-handers in their top seven once more, there’s too much in Robinson’s favour to not reload at 3/1.
Henry the pick of home attack
It’s a similar line of thought with MATT HENRY, who is worth supporting for New Zealand first-innings bowler honours at 4/1.
Henry was a void bet last week when missing the first Test for paternity leave, but he has suddenly become one of the main men in this home attack following Trent Boult’s decision to turn down a central contract and Kyle Jamieson’s ongoing back injury.
And Henry has history with England, too, picking up the Man of the Match award with wickets in both innings when New Zealand beat England at Edgbaston in 2020. Many in England will also note that he boasts a terrific record in County Cricket.
A seam and swing bowler very much in the mould of a traditional English seamer, Henry should be well suited to expected conditions in Wellington and as we saw in the first Test, Tim Southee apart, there isn’t a lot else to worry about in this Kiwi attack.
At 4/1, Henry rates a fair bet.
Preview posted at 1035 GMT on 22/02/2023
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