16 May update with team news: Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Brendon McCullum (captain), BJ Watling, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, one from Doug Bracewell/Bruce Martin.
At the beginning of the BLACKCAPS home ANZ Test series against England in March, plenty of predictions were made about potential score lines – not many of them included a nil-all draw.
Now though, on the eve of the first of two return Tests, it seems that punters aren’t quite so sure what to expect.
A considerable amount of hype surrounds the match, only heightened by the fact it will be held at the home of cricket - Lord’s. A sell-out crowd is evidence of how eager spectators are to see these two teams reignite their rivalry.
The significance of the occasion isn’t lost on the players either. BLACKCAPS opening batsmen Peter Fulton admits that to play at Lord’s is the pinnacle. The 34 year-old says while a few more overs in the middle wouldn’t have gone astray, he doesn’t feel like there’s been a lack of preparation.
“I would have liked to have spent a bit more time out there batting, but that’s just the way things have gone,” Fulton admitted.
“If I’m lucky enough to be picked, then I think all those sorts of things fly out the window and it’s just about trying to score runs.
“It’s the home of cricket as everyone knows. To be at the ground where so many of the greats have played is pretty special.
“Most cricketers read and hear a lot about Lord’s when they’re younger, so to be here and hopefully have the chance to play would be one of the highlights of my career.”
Of course there is also the incentive of a place on the Lord’s Honour Board.
The team is likely to be picked on the morning of the first day, with the make-up of the bowling attack the biggest question mark. Much has been said about the possibility of an all seam attack, while spinner Bruce Martin is also a strong contender.
It will likely come down to what role the weather will play over the five days. Showers are forecast for both Saturday and Sunday, with clouds either side. It shapes up to be the one thing which could thwart the teams, and the fans’ hopes.