Leach retains England place for 2nd Test against New Zealand

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Jack Leach has kept his place in an unchanged England XI for the second Test against New Zealand at Nottingham s Trent Bridge starting Friday after being passed fit following concussion.

Leach missed the majority of England s five-wicket win in the series opener at Lord s after falling on his head while saving a boundary on the first morning.

He was replaced by fellow spinner Matt Parkinson, England s first concussion substitute, but has been cleared to take the field in Nottingham.

Uncapped Yorkshire batsman Harry Brook and Somerset fast bowler Craig Overton missed out again as England once more named their team a day ahead of schedule.

England captain Ben Stokes, a pace-bowling all-rounder who has been managing a knee injury, sent down just 9.4 overs at Lord s but an unchanged team indicates the hosts are confident their skipper will be able to play a full part with the ball.

Meanwhile, England s fallible top-order have been given a chance to redeem themselves despite two collapses at Lord s that were offset by Joe Root s superb match-winning 115 not out in the star batsman s first Test since standing down as captain.

That leaves Brook, averaging a colossal 140 for Yorkshire in this season s County Championship, waiting to make his Test debut.

Victory for England over the World Test champions would give them an unassailable 2-0 lead in a three-match series.

–  Evenly matched  –

It would be the perfect start for the new regime of Stokes and England red-ball coach Brendon McCullum, the former New Zealand captain.

But Stokes told Sky Sports at Trent Bridge on Thursday he was expecting another close contest against New Zealand.

“We re very evenly matched, especially in English conditions,” he said. “Any overhead (cover) suits both our bowling attacks.

“We know that every time we go up against New Zealand it s never an easy ride. The game (the first Test) pretty much went to the wire until day four and we don t expect anything less (in Nottingham).”

Stokes also pleaded for patience regarding England quick Matthew Potts after his 23-year-old Durham colleague took seven wickets on Test debut at Lord s.

“The way that he started last week was obviously amazing,” said Stokes. “It was pretty much a dream debut for him but I think the most important thing from a senior player point of view, and even for the coaches, is making sure that he keeps improving.

“And, if things don t go his way this week, it s not the be-all and end-all. But he s a fantastic competitor, that s why he got the opportunity to play.”

He added: “I obviously had to use him in a slightly different role because he normally takes the new ball for Durham, but he came on and I think he took a wicket three or four times in his first over.

“So I ll be looking to use him in the same way, to come in and affect the game and hopefully try and take a wicket when we need one.”

England team:

Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (capt), Ben Foakes (wkt), Matthew Potts, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

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