MOUNT MAUNGANUI: England recalled seam bowler Stuart Broad on Wednesday for this week’s first Test against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui, reuniting his strike partnership with veteran Jimmy Anderson.

Broad, who has 566 Test wickets, will lead the attack alongside 40-year-old Anderson, England’s all-time leading bowler with 675 dismissals and seamer Ollie Robinson.

Skipper and all-rounder Ben Stokes, who will lead England in the country of his birth for the first time, will be the fourth seam option with spinner Jack Leach completing the bowling attack for the day-night encounter beginning Thursday.

The 36-year-old Broad missed the 3-0 Test series win over Pakistan in December following the birth of his child.

The first match of the two-Test series is expected to begin on time despite a national state of emergency in New Zealand caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.

But the storm has meant The Bay Oval wicket has remained covered for much of the build-up, something that normally favours the side bowling first, however Stokes was uncertain how it would play.

“Watching Test matches in New Zealand in the past, I don’t think you can look too much into the wickets here when they’re green like that,” he said.

“The two-day practice game we played (last week in Hamilton), the wicket was very green, had a lot of grass on it, and it played very, very true.

‘Hope I lose the toss’

“So I don’t know how much effect it’ll have really – I just hope I lose the toss,” he joked.

Stokes said the team had managed to practise under the cover of a marquee, despite the weather.

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“We have been lucky with the tent up here, we have been able to train but the cyclone hasn’t helped preparations,” Stokes told reporters.

He admitted it had been tough deciding which bowlers to leave out with pacemen Olly Stone and Matthew Potts also in the squad.

“We have the experience of Jimmy (Anderson) and Broady (Broad) you always want a bit of X-factor in your third seamer, which we have.

“We have a great crop of fast bowlers coming through England at the moment, which is an exciting position to be in.”

England come in as favourites having won nine of their last 10 Tests, including three home wins against New Zealand last year.

Stokes was surprised his side would not have to face left-arm pace bowler Trent Boult, who was released from his New Zealand contract last year to play in Australia.

“Any team without Trent Boult gives you a little bit of hope. He’s a quality performer but that’s a New Zealand issue, not ours,” Stokes said.

The England squad have been in New Zealand for several weeks and Stokes said the series can’t start soon enough.

“I wish the game was today, it feels like we have been here ages,” he said.

“The second game comes thick and fast after the first, so the team is raring to get going.”

England: Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (captain), Ben Foakes, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson.


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