England favourites to beat New Zealand despite warm-up defeat, says Ian Harvey

Last Updated: 02/03/13 12:48pm

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Ian Harvey says England will still start the upcoming Test series against New Zealand as favourites despite their surprise defeat in Queenstown.

"England will definitely start the Test series as favourites - there's no doubt about that."
Ian Harvey

The tourists lost their first, first-class tour match in nearly seven years when a New Zealand XI successfully reached their victory target of 334 with eight balls and three wickets in hand.

BJ Watling led the way for the home side with an unbeaten 89 after England declared on their overnight total of 256-9.

But despite the result, Harvey told Sky Sports News that he believes England should still have too much for the Black Caps when the first Test begins on Tuesday evening.

"I don't think England themselves will be too bothered about it," said Harvey. "When that first ball is bowled in the Test match, that's when people will stand up and take note.

"It's all about getting out there and trying to get some time under your belt with the bat and getting some overs under your belt with the ball.

"England will definitely start the Test series as favourites - there's no doubt about that - but again it's always tough to win away from home."

Struggling

Former Australian international Harvey also believes that, on current form, England should prove too strong for his own nation in the two upcoming Ashes series.

The two teams will contest back-to-back Test series in the space of seven months and although Australia are currently ranked third in the rankings to England's second, Harvey fears that position flatters them.

"On paper Australia are really struggling at the moment - there's no doubt about that," he reflected after watching his team battle to 237-9 on the opening day of the second Test against India in Hyderabad.

"England will start the Ashes as favourites, especially in England; the conditions will suit them and be foreign for a lot of the Australian players who haven't played here before.

"But in an Ashes series, as we've seen over the years, it will be very, very competitive and Australia will be coming here to win - there's no doubt about that.

"There's a lot of pride at stake, especially playing against the old foe; with 10 Tests in seven months, there's a lot of cricket to be played."

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