Saturday 28 June 2008 

New Zealand Beat England To Take NatWest Series

New Zealand gave England some harsh lessons, first in building an innings, then in defending one as they secured a 51-run win in the fifth and final One Day International at Lord's to win the five-match series 3-1.

Brilliant, brutal half-centuries from Scott Styris and Jacob Oram which included a flurry of late innings boundaries propelled New Zealand to a score of 266 for five before Daniel Vettori and Tim Southee picked up three wickets apiece as England were bowled out for 215.

England's run chase was given a dream start with Alastair Cook (24) and Ian Bell (27) putting on 53 for the first wicket, taking advantage of some rare loose stuff from Kyle Mills, Bell setting the tone with two boundaries in the first over through midwicket.

Quick to punish anything off line or too full, the pair flourished but it couldn't last, Bell trapped in front by Mark Gillespie, who bowled a superb opening spell of one for 12 from his six overs.

Cook followed soon after, caught behind by Brendon McCullum off of the second ball bowled by Tim Southee but it was the next wicket that had the New Zealanders really jumping for joy as captain Kevin Pietersen cut Southee to Jacob Oram at backward point.

Pietersen had struggled to get going, making six from 23 balls, but even at that stage there was no need to panic as Ravi Bopara was in supreme touch, hitting five fours of high class, the pick of the bunch a straight drive off of Southee.

However, just when England were set to hit the halfway stage in a better position than New Zealand (90-3) were in their innings, Bopara was deceived in the flight and was bowled by Daniel Vettori for 30.

Luke Wright (six) and Tim Ambrose (two) were the next victims of Vettori's bowling masterclass, Wright bowled by a quicker ball and Ambrose playing a nondescript shot which was caught by substitute James Marshall to end an horrendous day for the wicket-keeper.

Left with no choice, Owais Shah and Graeme Swann stepped on the accelerator pedal, but from way out there was an inevitability about proceedings as wickets went down as the run rate spiralled out of control.

Swann (15) and Stuart Broad (five) fell to Kyle Mills while Shah was caught by Marshall off of Southee for an excellent innings of 69 from 75 balls that with more support, might have run New Zealand close.

The game was done when James Anderson (two) was caught by Oram off of Gillespie, who finished with two for 29, just reward for his efforts.

Vettori, meanwhile, reeled off his ten overs to take three for 32 and Southee confirmed his place at the top of the series wicket-taking lists with three for 49.

Earlier, Oram hit three sixes in his 56 and Styris, who was even more impressive, finished on 87 not out with three sixes as 61 runs came in the final five overs of New Zealand's innings.

Stuart Broad took two wickets as England reduced New Zealand to 90 for three at the halfway stage but Oram and Styris took the game into their own hands, punishing England for some poor bowling in the latter stages.

Pietersen won the toss in his first action as stand-in England captain and invited New Zealand to bat and an early chance of a breakthrough was inexplicably thrown away by Tim Ambrose, who somehow contrived to make a mess of an up and under offered by Jamie How on four.

How was dropped again by James Anderson, who had been the bowler earlier, on the boundary, the ball going for six before Broad had him caught at backward point, but only just by Ravi Bopara for 22.

One wicket soon brought another, Ross Taylor's mediocre One Day series with the bat ending with an uncertain push that caught the edge which this time was easily taken by Ambrose off of Broad.

Although England bowled too many wides, and strayed too much on to the pads of Brendon McCullum, he was not able to take full advantage, and he followed up one flourishing drive for four with an edge to Graeme Swann at slip off of Anderson having made 23 from 57 balls.

A man used to breaking records with his aggressive hitting, all McCullum managed to break today was his bat as he too failed to finish his series on a personal high.

When Daniel Flynn was bowled by Graeme Swann for 35, New Zealand were in some trouble at 124 for four but Oram soon took control of the situation, hitting 52 from 40 balls, taking two huge sixes off of Shah, whose three overs went for 30, as he and Styris shared 77 for the fifth wicket.

With five overs to go, Styris opened his shoulders, twice launching Anderson for maximums as well as Sidebottom while Grant Elliot (23 not out) also put Sidebottom over the ropes as it rained boundaries at the home of cricket.

England's death bowling was extremely poor with little attempt to bowl yorkers and full-length deliveries and the New Zealand batsmen feasted on an array of length and short balls.

Swann, however, returned excellent figures of two for 33, but he was once again bettered by Vettori, who led his men to a deserved win.

If England lost the plot at stages, particularly the last ball, at The Brit Oval, here they found the plot, but were guilty of fluffing their lines, giving away good starts to both innings against a superior One Day International outfit.

© Cricket World 2008