Lancashire stars James Anderson and Daryl Mitchell will face each other as England renew acquaintances with New Zealand on Thursday.

The first Test takes place at Bay Oval in Tauranga and England will be looking to continue their impressive form since Kiwi Brendon McCullum took over as coach.

Lancashire stalwart Anderson comes into the series as the number two bowler in the ICC Test Rankings 

There are no signs of the 40-year-old slowing down which was emphasised in the recent series in Pakistan.

The evergreen swing bowler claimed eight wickets at an average of 18.50 to guide England to a 3-0 win.

The Burnley man made his international debut in 2002 and is still putting in match-winning contributions for his country.

Since Ben Stokes and McCullum joined forces, England’s Test fortunes have improved dramatically.

Their swashbuckling approach has seen them win nine Tests out of 10 since the partnership formed.

It won’t be easy though against a determined New Zealand team, featuring new Lancashire recruit Mitchell.

Mitchell has recently put pen to paper for the Old Trafford outfit ahead of the 2023 campaign and will be keen to nullify his new teammate.

When the sides met last summer, Mitchell proved to be a thorn in England’s side.

The right-hander amassed 538 runs at 107.60, including three centuries.  

He may need to do something similar to thwart a formidable England.

The tourists will hope to build on their success since ‘Bazball’ came into effect.

They will be tested against a strong New Zealand pace attack, led by captain Tim Southee.

England are looking to record a first series win in New Zealand since 2008.

In fact, the Black Caps haven’t lost any home series since 2017.

The challenge is tough but under Stokes and McCullum, England are sure to come out swinging.

(featured pic By NAPARAZZI under creative commons CC BY-SA 2.0)