Published:  12:48 AM, 08 November 2019

England seek to stay alive against NZ

England seek to stay alive against NZ Tom Curran

New Zealand have bounced back from their opening defeat to win the last two matches against England. Another on Friday, 8 November, will seal the series in Napier.

England began the series on a strong note in Christchurch, thumping the hosts by seven wickets with an over-and-a-half to spare. They have since suffered two defeats and need to win the next game to keep the series alive.England's batting, the middle order in particular, has appeared a bit iffy in each of those last two contests. Sam Billings and Sam Curran have endured failures at Nos.5 and 6 in both those games.

By stark contrast, New Zealand's middle order has looked very dangerous. Ross Taylor and James Neesham have enjoyed sizeable returns. But the biggest positive for New Zealand has been the form of Colin de Grandhomme at No.4. He has racked up 102 runs in the series while striking at 167.21, which has enabled New Zealand to post defendable totals.

As for the bowling, Saqib Mahmood and Pat Brown have been expensive for England, and the visitors will strongly consider bringing back Chris Jordan for the fourth game, after he was rested in Nelson. New Zealand's fast bowlers have been quite good for the most part and will be bolstered by the return of Trent Boult, who was absent for the first three games.

---ICC

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