KP loss won’t dampen England’s hopes of series success over NZ

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England will enter the Test series with New Zealand without star batsman Kevin Pietersen, who has failed to recover from the knee injury that saw him sent home from the southern hemisphere at the end of 2012

The hosts are priced at 2/7 to claim a series victory over the Black Caps and while the loss of the 32-year-old will undoubtedly lessen their firepower they should still have enough to overcome their misfiring visitors.

There will be great debate over who will replace Pietersen in the batting line-up, with Eoin Morgan representing a possible option for the selectors.

The left hander already has 700 Test runs and a pair of centuries to his name and his aggressive style may plug the creative gap left by Pietersen’s absence.

Jonny Bairstow has been the man to step into the order of late and the flame haired Yorkshireman showed his ability in the third Test in South Africa last year when he hit a 94 and a half-century in successive innings against the Proteas.

However, he has failed to fire in his five other Test appearances, scoring just 56 runs in those five outings.

Whoever comes into the side is likely to do so under very little pressure, with this a series that Andy Flower’s men are expected to win comfortably.

The tourists have failed to win a Test series against nations other than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh since 2006 and haven’t enjoyed a series victory over the English since 1999, facts represented in their 10/1 price to be triumphant over the two matches.

England have been defeated just once in eight series on their own patch, with that loss coming against South Africa last summer, while they have been overturned in just two of 15 home series against the Kiwis.

This pair last met only last year, with the three-game series seeing the trio of matches all ending in a stalemate, and the repeat is available at 4/1 here.

The loss of Pietersen will hinder England’s ability with the bat and may allow their opponents to garner a draw in one of the meetings, so 2/1 on a 1-0 series win for Alastair Cook and company could appeal.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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