England 'licking their lips' as Stokes names team for second New Zealand Test

Ben Stokes says his bowlers are ‘licking their lips’ after England named an unchanged team for the second Test against New Zealand in Wellington.

England, who have won their last six Tests, took a 1-0 lead in the two-match series with a 267-run victory in Mount Maunganui.

The tourists have been monitoring the fitness of pace bowlers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson since the first Test but all three have been cleared to play the series decider.

The trio starred in Mount Maunganui – taking 17 of England’s 20 wickets – and will be hopeful of more success on green Basin Reserve pitch.

‘It’s been a chilled build-up, a time for lads to get any stiffness out of the body,’ said Stokes after confirming England’s team for the second Test.

‘We had to hear from the bowlers who played in the last game to see how they were and they are absolutely fine.

‘I’m not going to lie, the bowlers were licking their lips. They might have been stiff yesterday, but after they looked at the pitch felt a little bit looser.

‘It looks like the lines for the wicket have been painted on the outfield, but I think that’s generally how the pitches do look here at the Basin.

‘You can’t read too much into it because the ball can nip around but it can also be incredibly flat. The pace of the wicket can be a huge advantage to the batters.’

England team for second New Zealand Test

Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson

Anderson comes into this Test match having returned to the top of the world bowling rankings earlier in the week at the age of 40.

Asked about Anderson’s remarkable longevity, England captain Stokes said: ‘I just can’t see him stopping. He’s just relentless with everything that he does. We’re very lucky to have him.

‘He’s rightfully back at the top. I know sometimes those rankings don’t mean much to people, but in our opinion he has been one of he best, if not the best, for longer what these rankings say.’

While England have won 10 of their last 11 Test matches, New Zealand have been in poor form and are aiming to avoid a first home series defeat since 2007.

Black Caps skipper Tim Southee said: ‘We’ve played some good cricket in our conditions and also in other parts of the world for a long time.

‘We’ve had a great couple of days to train, refresh and look forward to this match. I know the pitch looks green but it’s usually a pretty good surface.’

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