Cricket: England send New Zealand in to bat

England won the toss and sent New Zealand in to bat on the opening day of the third and final Test at Auckland's Eden Park on Friday.

England skipper Alastair Cook aimed to put pressure on the Black Caps' batting line-up early in the match, a winner-takes-all fixture after rain-affected draws in Dunedin and Wellington.

"The wickets here have tended to get better (for batsmen) as the game has gone on, so hopefully in the first session we can make use of it," he said.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said he would have preferred to bowl first on the drop-in wicket, which promises more pace and bounce than the previous pitches in the series.

"It's a good test for our batting line-up," he said. "We've coped pretty well so far in this series and I guess today's going to be a real judgement day for us."

New Zealand's team is unchanged from the second Test in Wellington, while England have included Jonny Bairstow to replace the injured Kevin Pietersen.

New Zealand, ranked eighth in Test cricket, have not won a series against England since 1999, with their sole series victory on home soil back in 1984.


New Zealand: Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Brendon McCullum (captain), BJ Watling, Tim Southee, Bruce Martin, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.

England: Alastair Cook (captain), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Steve Finn, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.

Umpires: Paul Reiffel (AUS), Rod Tucker (AUS)

TV umpire: Steve Davis (AUS)

Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SRI)