England in New Zealand: Sam Curran preferred to Chris Woakes

Joe Root - England tour a chance to lay down a winter marker
First Test: New Zealand v England
Venue: Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui Date: 21-25 November Time: 22:00 GMT (20-24 Nov)
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, Radio 4 LW, online and BBC Sport app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

England have picked Sam Curran ahead of fellow all-rounder Chris Woakes for the opening Test in New Zealand.

It has also been confirmed Dom Sibley, 24, will open the batting on his debut.

Joe Denly, who opened in the final two Ashes Tests, has recovered from injury and will bat at three, with captain Joe Root moving to his preferred position of four and Ollie Pope recalled to bat at six in his third Test.

The two-Test series starts at 22:00 GMT on Wednesday in Mount Maunganui.

Left-arm seamer Curran, 21, has taken 21 wickets at an average of 29 in 11 Tests.

Woakes, 30, has taken 88 wickets at 31.29 apiece in 31 matches, but he averages 61.77 abroad compared to 23.45 in England.

Denly, who made 94 in the fifth Ashes Test against Australia in September, has recovered from an ankle ligament injury picked up before the Twenty20 series in New Zealand, which England won 3-2.

Pope, 21, scored only 54 runs in his first two Tests against India in 2018, but averaged 80.14 for Surrey in the County Championship this season and averages 59.52 in his first-class career.

All-rounder Moeen Ali is not in the England squad after taking a break from cricket this summer, but Root said he could return for the tour of South Africa starting in December.

"Moeen adds a different dimension," Root said. "We'll have that conversation with him again, probably in the next couple of weeks.

"He's got to be comfortable and ready to come back to Test cricket, but we're very open to that."

The opening Test - the first to be held at the Bay Oval - is Chris Silverwood's first since replacing Trevor Bayliss as head coach.

New Zealand have left out uncapped pace bowler Lockie Ferguson, with Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner forming a three-man pace attack alongside left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner and medium-pacer Colin de Grandhomme.

Coach Gary Stead said on Tuesday that New Zealand were considering picking Ferguson to combat the threat posed by Jofra Archer, England's quickest bowler.

"The excitement of having a guy in our camp that can bowl at such high speed is very attractive," said captain Kane Williamson, who has recovered from the hip injury that kept him out of the T20 series.

"Jofra's obviously been outstanding for England but you don't just look at mirroring the opposition.

"The three that we've gone with are guys that have been in the group for a long period of time and performed really well for us."

New Zealand, second in the International Cricket Council Test rankings, have lost only one of their past 15 Tests at home.

England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (capt), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad.

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.

Captains Kane Williamson and Joe Root
Captains Kane Williamson and Joe Root face each other in a Test for the first time in 18 months


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