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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

England 13-8 to earn series draw following first Test defeat

Tim Paine 5-2 for Aussie skipper role

New Zealand hammered England in Auckland
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England's cricketers will be thankful that Australia's ball-tampering scandal has taken the media spotlight away from their woeful first Test display which saw New Zealand defeat them by an innings and 49 runs in Auckland.

England, sent off 7-5 shots to win the first Test and 6-4 to win the two-match series, were never in the game at Eden Park after the Black Caps bowled them out for a pitiful 58 on the opening day.

Their bowlers fared little better, allowing the hosts to rack up 427-8 declared as Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls scored centuries before England, needing 369 just to make New Zealand bat again, could only compile 320 in their second innings.

Ben Stokes (65) and Chris Woakes (52) dug in on day five but England succumbed to the 9-4 outsiders in the final session.

Bookmakers expect New Zealand to confirm the form in the second Test which begins in Christchurch on Friday (11pm Thursday UK time), rating them no bigger than 11-8 to seal a 2-0 series victory.

England are 13-8 to level the series while a drawn Test is available at 9-2 with minimal rain forecast in the South Island.

Captain Joe Root has expressed a desire for "rational thinking" in the wake of England's latest defeat but Mark Wood, Liam Livingstone and Jack Leach will all fancy their chances of coming into the side in Christchurch as England search for answers in their final outing of a draining five-month Antipodean tour.

Betway offer 5-2 that Tim Paine in named captain for Australia's next Test series as rumours persist over the long-term future of current skipper Steve Smith after he admitted to being aware of Cameron Bancroft's doctoring of the ball in their third Test defeat to South Africa.

Paine, who led the Aussies in the field on day four before they capitulated to a 322-run loss, is not thought to be a member of Australia's leadership group and could take over if Smith is forced to give up the captaincy permanently - he has already stepped down as skipper of IPL side Rajasthan Royals. 

Nathan Lyon is a 4-1 shot while Usman Khawaja and Josh Hazlewood can be backed at 5-1. Betway also quote 12-1 that the Baggy Green are stripped of their Ashes series victory.

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Ben Stokes (65) and Chris Woakes (52) dug in on day five but England succumbed to the 9-4 outsiders in the final session
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