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Ōtautahi  – The two tests New Zealand is going to have against England, starting tonight, could springboard them into the world test championship final against India later this month could just tip things their way.

Kane Williamson’s predecessor Brendon McCullum says the Black Caps have an advantage heading into the world final (WTC) against India later this month.

The Blacks Caps kick off their England tour tonight with the first test at Lord’s, home of cricket, and the second test starts June 10.

A series between England and New Zealand has, traditionally, been one of cricket’s friendliest rivalries. Enter stage left: the outcome of the 2019 cricket one day world cup final outcome. Kane Williamson and all the Black Caps associated with that day will be determined not to finish second in either of the tests this month. Not negotiable.

England lost their last three tests in India last summer winter, having won nine and drawn two of their previous 13.

England’s two-test series against the Kiwis precedes five tests against India, before their all-important Ashes series in Australia starting in December.

Indian captain Virat Kohli will not underestimate the Black Caps in the world test final at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, starting June 18.

India was comprehensively outplayed well when they toured New Zealand and the English conditions are likely to be similar to what India got in New Zealand.

Tonight, England is without star all-rounder Ben Stokes who is recovering from a broken finger, and seamer Jofra Archer who has had elbow surgery. But that’s not all.

Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran and Moeen Ali are also absent after being given a rest after playing in the abandoned Indian Premier League.

New Zealand is just resting fast bowler Trent Boult, after the shortened IPL, but he will be back for the WTC final.

New England coach Chris Silverwood and skipper Joe Root will stick to James Anderson (for his 161st record-equalling test), Stuart Broad and Mark Wood and Jack Leach, four of the most experienced test bowlers going around.

The two tests against England could slip the Black Caps into the best of form for the world test finale but if they lose both England tests, suffer injuries, their morale may dip while the Indian team will be fresh and raring to go.