England were today mulling who will join Broad and Jimmy Anderson in their bowling attack on a pitch with no more than a green tinge that will be baked by the increasingly summery weather in the coming days.
England appear likely to opt for the pace of Mark Wood (Olly Stone is another option in that department), leaving a final spot computed for between the spin of Jack Leach and a fourth seamer. The absence of all-rounders Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran has limited England’s room for manoeuvre.
Ollie Robinson could join wicketkeeper James Bracey in making his Test debut, while Somerset’s Craig Overton is also in the squad, having not played international cricket since the summer of 2019.
The old firm of Anderson and Broad will play, though, with Broad getting the nod as vice-captain. Root’s regular lieutenants, Stokes and Jos Buttler, are missing through injury and rest respectively.
Broad has captained England in both white-ball formats, but has never led England in a Test. Anderson, who will equal Alastair Cook’s record of 161 Test appearances, was England’s vice-captain as recently as the 2017/18 Ashes, but has never led England.
The other candidate would have been Surrey skipper Rory Burns, but he did not play England’s two most recent Tests on the tour of India.
New Zealand are without their star quick Trent Boult, who spent longer back home than his team-mates for family reason, but still possess a fearsome pace attack, including Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson.