England 186-5 (Cook 46) beat
New Zealand 185 (Finn 3-27) by 5 wickets
Third One-Day International, Auckland
England’s bowlers combined to skittle New Zealand for just 185 in the deciding One-Day International at Eden Park. On another ground with ridiculously short boundaries, none of New Zealand’s batsmen, bar the in-form Brendon McCullum, were able to take advantage as Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann backed up incisive opening spells from James Anderson and Steven Finn.
England then cruised to their target with more than 12 overs to spare despite losing a steady trickle of wickets to a series of loose strokes. They were never in danger of defeat, however, and wrapped up their first ODI series win in New Zealand since 1992.
Steven Finn, clearly unaffected by his new shortened run-up, was first to strike and was virtually unplayable in his first five overs. He made BJ Watling look clueless before causing him to fend a ball to Graeme Swann in his opening over and then had Hamish Rutherford caught behind in his fourth. In between times, James Anderson had Kane Williamson feathering a catch to Jos Buttler and the Black Caps were 11 for three.
Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott then began a cautious recovery but struggled to maintain a scoring rate that was needed to post a total that would prove challenging for England on another flat pitch. Elliott was the victim of a mix-up as the two batsmen thought about taking a second run, while Taylor swished at a widish delivery from Stuart Broad and was adjudged caught behind despite calling for a review.
At 67 for five after 25 overs New Zealand were in danger of embarrassing themselves. However, McCullum was on hand to take the attack to the England bowlers. He hit more boundaries during his knock of 79 off 68 balls than his colleagues managed between them, making the most of the short boundaries to hit five sixes and six fours. He was eventually last man out with six overs of the innings remaining, caught spectacularly by a leaping Anderson inches inside the deep midwicket boundary.
England were perhaps guilty of complacency during their run chase as all of the top five made at least 24 without going onto play the match-winning innings. Ian Bell succumbed first, tamely pulling Andrew Ellis to Rutherford, while Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott were both guilty of driving loosely outside off-stump.
Fortunately, by the time of Cook’s indiscretion the target was down into double figures and his lapse of concentration merely served to allow Eoin Morgan some much-needed time in the middle ahead of the Twenty20 series. Morgan didn’t disappoint and enjoyed himself during his cameo of 39 off 24 balls before perishing with the winning line in sight. Joe Root finished not out with 28 as England overhauled their target in the 38th over to wrap up a comprehensive victory.
© Cricket World 2013
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