England have won the toss


The clocks have changed, the weather is grim, the summer is gone. On the bright side: it means international cricket – and the OBO – coming to you at all hours through the course of the next month with England’s men in New Zealand for five T20s and two Tests.

The series opener is at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, one of the most beautiful grounds on the planet. Being a lovely little place in the middle of the parklands, there are no floodlights – thus the Friday afternoon timing; unusual in the shortest form of the game.

Of course, the last time these teams met was the greatest finish in the history of the sport. This won’t be that. It is, however, where the starters’ pistol is being fired on the sides T20 World Cup campaigns, that major tournament to be held this time last year in Australia.

Eoin Morgan won’t have Ben Stokes or Jos Buttler at his disposal here, his two World Cup heroes having a breather, but there are young players everywhere looking to make their bow. More on those after the toss. The locals are also without their superstar, Kane Williamson, the armband instead with veteran quick Tim Southee.


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