New Zealand vs England 2023: how to watch first cricket Test match on UK TV - start times and squad news

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Ben Stokes will lead his cricketers in a two-match series against New Zealand this week

England’s Test team has not been in action since that historic series in Pakistan in which Brendon McCullum’s side convincingly won 3-0.

Records were broken and every Test was dubbed as one of the greatest in modern day cricket and now nearly two months on, Ben Stokes and his men will return to action when they take on New Zealand this week. They will play two Test matches while England’s white-ball squad will prepare for their ODI series against Bangladesh at the beginning of March.

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England are, however, having to monitor forecasts in New Zealand due to Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle which is expected to cause a “widespread and extreme weather event” ahead of the first Test. The cyclone, which has been upgraded to a category three in the past 24 hours, is heading towards the North Island and is expected to bring gale-force winds, heavy rainfall and unsafe sea conditions between Sunday and Tuesday.

As yet, no changes have been made to England’s travel plans or the scheduling of the Test so while Stokes and the squad make their final preparations ahead of Wednesday’s start, here is all you need to know about the first England Test match of 2023…

Tim Southee will captain New Zealand in Test series against EnglandTim Southee will captain New Zealand in Test series against England
Tim Southee will captain New Zealand in Test series against England | AFP via Getty Images

When is England vs New Zealand first Test?

The Test match, which will be the first of two, starts on Wednesday 16 February 2023 and will conclude on Sunday 20 February, if all five days are necessary. The day’s play is scheduled to begin at 1am GMT and it is due to be played at the Bay Oval cricket ground in Mount Maunganui.

England have only played one Test match at the Bay Oval and it ended with New Zealand beating their visitors by an innings and 65 runs. Ben Stokes top-scored in the first innings but Bradley Watling hit a double century for the Black Caps and, coupled with a century from Mitchell Santner, New Zealand declared on 615/9.

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How to watch England vs New Zealand first Test?

England’s two Test matches against New Zealand will be available to watch on BT Sport. Fans can watch on BT Sport 1 or via the BT Sport app by signing up to a contract free account for £25/month.


England have won nine out of ten matches since New Zealander Brendon McCullum took over as head coach last year. Against New Zealand, England have won 51 of their 110 matches and the two sides have drawn on 47 occasions. The Lions also have 18 away wins to their name and the Black Caps have just six home wins.

The last time these two sides met was in June 2022 and England won both matches by five wickets, reaching targets of 277 and 299 respectively to beat their opponents.

Team news

This will be the first time England have played New Zealand under the new leadership of Tim Southee. Kane Williamson stepped down from the role ahead of the Black Caps’ tour to Pakistan. In his first innings without the captaincy, he scored his fifth double century in Tests and became the first from his country to hit five double centuries in Test cricket.

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England will still be without Jonny Bairstow, who continues to undergo rehab following his freak accident while playing golf.

England: Ben Stokes (C), James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Matthew Potts, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Olly Stone.

New Zealand: Tim Southee (C), Tom Blundell, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Michtell, Henry Nicholls, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickener, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.

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