As the football season wearily grinds to a halt, (though seemingly extended for ever with "play offs" and "finals" and Glasgow Rangers still have 48 games to play), the fact that England failed to "qualify" for a trip to the Alps means that cricket takes the centre stage.
The might of New Zealand have arrived, minus the players who have "retired" and those that New Zealand refuse to play because they played in the Indian Crciket League including Shane Bond - one of the best bowlers in the world. But, the squad is still full of talent:
There's Marshall, who is the second most talented player in his family, after his twin brother (said twin is one of the "banned" players), and Oram, who loves to bowl those maidens, doesn't he now, and Patel - he's fond of bowling maidens too, excpet when Mascerenhas is batting, and Vetori will all his subtle changes of pace - doesn't take any wickets but it's so clever. How exciting is that? How isn't exciting.
No Flintoff for England - he has a side strain.
Same team as the last two tests:
Cook, Strauss, Vaughan, Bell, Peitersen, Collingwood, Ambrose, Broad, Sidebottom, Panesar and Anderson.