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England win toss and bowl in second Test against New Zealand

NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM (AFP) – England captain Ben Stokes opted to bowl first in the second Test against New Zealand after winning the toss at Trent Bridge yesterday.

England were unchanged from the first match of the series with spinner Jack Leach, who was withdrawn on the first day at Lord’s after suffering concussion, given the green light to play.

“Leachy got passed fit, he was very unfortunate last week,” Stokes said.

“Generally the wicket tends to get better here as the game goes on here so we want to get them in and put them under pressure.”

Led by new skipper Stokes and new coach Brendon McCullum, England won a thrilling first Test by five wickets to end their dismal run of just one win in 17 Tests.

England’s Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and James Anderson during a nets session. PHOTO: AP

Victory at Trent Bridge would ensure England win the three-Test series with one match still to play.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was ruled out of the Nottingham clash after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme also missed out after suffering a tear in his right heel in the first Test. Matt Henry came in for Ajaz Patel, Henry Nicholls for Williamson, and Michael Bracewell for De Grandhomme.

Tom Latham fills in for Williamson as captain of the Test world champions.

“Disappointing for Kane but there are opportunities for other guys,” Latham said. “We are a proud nation and will play our brand of cricket.

“We were going to have a bowl as well. There’s a bit of green tinge (on the strip), but dry as well. Get through the first session and put a score on the board.”