The first meeting between the two sides at Lord's ended in a draw, with rain playing spoilsport in a Test that seemed titled in New Zealand's favor for the most part. It was a story of debutants in the 1st Test.
Devon Conway, opening the batting for the Blackcaps, notched up a historic double ton and helped his team put up a competitive first-innings score. Ollie Robinson, off-field controversies aside, had one of the best-ever debuts by an Englishman in Test cricket, with seven wickets to go with 42 runs.
Robinson will miss out on the second Test, as the England and Wales Cricket Board have launched an investigation into the 'racist' and 'sexist' tweets he posted over eight years ago. New Zealand, too, may make some changes and opt to rest one of their pacers and bring in Trent Boult, who could use some match practice ahead of the World Test Championship final.
With the series not part of a World Test Championship cycle and New Zealand having one eye on the upcoming clash against India, not much is at stake in Edgbaston. However, both teams will give it their all to lift the silverware, with many high-profile encounters on the horizon.
ENG vs NZ 2021: England vs New Zealand 2nd Test Match Prediction
England captain Joe Root and his counterpart Kane Williamson had contrasting outings in the 1st Test. While Root scored twin 40s, the Kiwi skipper managed only 14 runs over the course of the match. Williamson is struggling with an elbow issue and will be monitored in the lead-up to the 2nd Test.
Form of the captains aside, both teams have a few issues to address. England's openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley played confidence-boosting knocks in the first and second innings respectively, but Zak Crawley - who scored four runs in the match - needs to step up.
James Bracey, making his Test debut thanks to an injury to Ben Foakes, couldn't build on his reputation as a solid red-ball batsman. He bagged a duck in his only innings of the game, as did Dan Lawrence. The pressure is severe on most of England's middle order.
The Kiwis, on the other hand, will look to ensure that their batsmen convert their starts into big scores. Ross Taylor, Tom Latham and BJ Watling all looked decent at some point during the 1st Test, but didn't give Conway and the other form players like Henry Nicholls much support.
With Boult expected to return to the playing XI, one or more of Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Neil Wagner could be rested ahead of the World Test Championship final. Mitchell Santner and Colin de Grandhomme, both of whom didn't impress in the series opener, might be on the chopping block for New Zealand.
The outcome of the 2nd Test could depend on which team makes more changes to their XI. Assuming New Zealand look to give their bowlers a breather ahead of the June 18 clash, England could start the encounter as favorites. Robinson has a number of capable replacements waiting in the wings like Olly Stone, Craig Overton and Jack Leach.
The weather is expected to hold up throughout the five days of the 2nd Test, leading us to believe that we will get a result in the game and in the series.
On paper, purely because New Zealand might have their eye on bigger things and Williamson's availability is under the scanner, the hosts might just have the edge. However, it must be said that the Blackcaps can easily clinch the series if they field a strong XI.
Prediction: England to win