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Preamble: it’s time to pull yourself together

Hello everyone and welcome to another day of international cricket. If it’s Thursday, it must be a test match. Around 19 hours after an England XI sealed a one-day streak in the Netherlands, another will take the field at Headingley to see if they too can pull off a sweep. Or should it be a clean reverse sweep, now that the Test team have become as filibuster as their white ball brethren.

Time to buckle up again and enjoy the ride. Ben Stokes says England will go even harder this time around, a plan which could involve rewriting the laws of physics. New Zealand, who won the World Test Championship just a year ago, are expected to win, and they made 550 after being batted. But England have our old friend Mo Mentum at their side, as well as a rebound from new manager Brendon McCullum, the super-facilitator whose fingerprints can still be found on New Zealand’s fiery style of play.

This game takes place in Headingley, where it’s easy to imagine either set of crimpers having fun – or getting stuck if the sun comes out. The fastest of them will be Jamie Overton, who will make his Test debut at the expense of his twin Craig. As always, there’s no shortage of subplots, so keep that window open. The game starts at 11am UK time, 10pm New Zealand, and I’ll be back 25 minutes before with news of the draw.


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