Squaring up in Headingley

The BLACKCAPS and England are playing their fifth Test in two months, can we square the series?

With England one ahead in a two Test series (or five, if you count the March Tests), it's all on the line for the BLACKCAPS in Headingley. The gulf between the two teams in the ICC world Test rankings has been well documented, and the chaps will be desperate to convert their confident performances and progress in the 2013 Tests into an elusive win.

After the luxury of naming an unchanged line up in four successive tests, injuries mean change has been forced upon Mike Hesson. With Bruce Martin on a plane home, former captain Dan Vettori arriving 24 hours earlier than planned, and attempting to prove his fitness to start his first Test since July 2012. It wasn't to be, and fast bowler Doug Bracewell comes into the team to form a four-seam attack, with wicket-taker Kane Williamson the part time spin option. Brendon McCullum was relaxed about the altered balance to his bowling attack, but inferred the Yorkshire clouds, and how much cover co-operation they would offer, would be crucial.



Brendon McCullum taking the gloves from BJ Watling is the other talking point, along with Martin Guptil making his way back into to the battling line up after his injury against England in the Seddon Park Twenty20.

Yorkshiremen in the line up have been the story for England, with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow set to retain their places, and Tim Bresnan hoping to break into the starting line up. Both teams have acknowledged the quality of Joe Root's 71 in England's second innings and its effect on the outcome - Root has scored heavily at Headingley already this season, and will obviously be keen to perform for his home fans.

New Zealands has an auspicious history at Headingly of course, it's the scene of their first Test win on English soil in 1983. If you believe the forecasts, the weather will play its part and with both seam attacks in grand form and flush with success from Lord's, it could come down to whose batsmen handle the conditions and pressure the best. The BLACKCAPS 'hour of madness' has also been well documented, and it will be motivation for the top and middle order to put this right in the 'fifth Test'.


Follow @BLACKCAPS on Twitter for second Test updates - we'd love to hear from you, wherever you're watching.

Mobile-friendly live scoring will be live at blackcaps.co.nz shortly before play.

Weather-wise, a hail storm forced the teams to train inside on Thursday - keep an eye on the latest Leeds forecast.

Listen to audio from the BLACKCAPS press conferences throughout the Test.

Sportsfreak has a two part look at NZ v ENG Headingley Tests of years gone past, part one and part two.

BLACKCAPS performance analyst Rupert Lewis took another of his 360 views of Headingley during training. These are amazing if you haven't seen them!

Photos: ALEX WHITEHEAD/SWPIX.COM/photosport.co.nz

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