It's safe to assume, from their various T20 boltholes around the globe, New Zealand's leading cricketers will have a keen eye on events at Lord's in a week.

England and the West Indies - both to tour New Zealand this coming summer - will play the third and final test at cricket's HQ. And, who'd have believed it a week ago, it will be a series decider. Having filled their boots in an easy innings and 209-run win at Edgbaston under lights in the first test, as the West Indies crumbled shamefully, England found themselves outplayed at Leeds this week.

Throw in Bangladesh's fine win over Australia in Dhaka and it's been a cracking week for lovers of the unexpected.

The West Indies, though, have found a chink of light in an unremittingly gloomy couple of decades. How the once mighty have fallen. They are now in a fight to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in England; they rank eighth in the test game.


And yet Leeds offers hope, with both a small and capital H.

They bossed the first half of the match and when England declared at 490 for eight, the target was an improbable 322. Instead they walked home to win by five wickets. England captain Joe Root's decision to declare has been vigorously debated in the wake of the outcome. Put it this way: did anyone seriously expect the Windies to chase that down on the final day, given their record and England's bowling strength?

One interesting theory to come out of the fourth innings was the observation by former England spinner Vic Marks, that the West Indies benefited from feeling a freedom to attack.

The West Indies are uncovering batting gems. Opener Kraigg Brathwaite's match double of 134 and 95 was all class. He's 24, has scored six tons and is up to 39 tests. Shai Hope, a fellow Bajan, is 23. His 147 and 118 not out double is the first case of two centuries in a first-class match at Headingley, remarkable on its own.

Then there's Roston Chase, age 24 and averaging 41 in 12 tests, with three centuries behind him, burly Shannon Gabriel, a distinctly lively Trinidadian speedster, and Kemar Roach, an awkward customer. Put it all together and the West Indies' new coach, former Australian international Stuart Law, must see plenty to work with. The problem is consistency. Nail that, and they could be back in business in no time.

England are a known quantity, top class seam bowlers, a batting group spearheaded by Root, one of the true elite batsmen in test cricket. They bat deep too, courtesy of allrounders Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali.

Both teams have two tests here, bookending the international season and the only five-dayers of the summer, a poor and demoralising situation for lovers of the longest form in this country.

Still, best make the most of it, and at this rate it's shaping as potentially a couple of fascinating, if too brief, encounters.