England train for New Zealand Tests with major selection issues - in pictures

Joe Root will field a depleted side for two-match series that begins on Wednesday

England have issues to contend with as they begin the two-match Test series against New Zealand at Lord's on Wednesday.

As Joe Root's team trained for the first Test – which marks the return of spectators to international cricket in the country – selection remains their biggest concern.

The hosts will be without injured World Cup winners Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. Stokes is out due to a finger injury while Archer has undergone elbow surgery.

They have also decided to rest several players following their stints in the Indian Premier League, including wicketkeepers Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow. To top it all, wicketkeeper Ben Foakes suffered a freak hamstring injury when he slipped on Surrey's dressing room floor. That has paved the way for Gloucestershire's James Bracey to make his Test debut.

Bracey, 24, said: "I'm really excited about the possibility of playing two of the world's best teams this summer and obviously an Ashes tour next winter is another goal as well.

"Hopefully I'll be in a position where I can't be ignored."

England will be relying on uncapped pacer Ollie Robinson and fast bowler Mark Wood. Veteran seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who have more than 1,000 Test wickets between them, carrying the bulk of the load.

England had a brief scare during their practice session on Monday when captain Root was struck on the right hand while batting in the nets. Root had treatment before resuming batting and is expected to be fit for Wednesday.

Published: June 1, 2021 04:10 PM

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