Morning everyone and welcome to another day of international cricket. If it’s Thursday, it must be a Test match. About 19 hours after one England XI sealed a one-day series in the Netherlands, another will take the field at Headingley to see if they too can pull off a clean sweep. Or should that be a clean reverse sweep, now that the Test team have become as buccaneering as their white-ball brethren.
It’s time to buckle up again and enjoy the ride. Ben Stokes says England will go even harder this time, a plan that may involve rewriting the laws of physics. New Zealand, who won the World Test Championship only a year ago, are due a win, and they did make 550 after being put in to bat. But England have our old friend Mo Mentum on their side, as well as a new-manager bounce from Brendon McCullum, the super-enabler whose fingerprints can still be found on New Zealand’s spirited style of play.
This game is at Headingley, where it’s easy to picture either set of seamers having a ball – or getting a pasting if the sun comes out. The fastest of them will be Jamie Overton, making his Test debut at the expense of his twin Craig. There is, as ever, no shortage of sub-plots, so do keep this window open. Play starts at 11am UK time, 10pm in New Zealand, and I’ll be back 25 minutes before that with news of the toss.