Cricket: NZ goes down to England

By David Leggat

Steven Finn of England (R) celebrates his wicket of Nathan McCullum of New Zealand (C) with Eoin Morgan (L). Photo / Getty Images.
Steven Finn of England (R) celebrates his wicket of Nathan McCullum of New Zealand (C) with Eoin Morgan (L). Photo / Getty Images.

England completed part two of their New Zealand tour, winning the ODI series at Eden Park to go alongside the T20 rubber.

The three-test series starts in Dunedin on March 6 and the signs are grim for the hosts, who name their squad of 13 on Sunday morning.

Not only are England ranked No 2 to New Zealand's No 8, but there are indications England are warming to their tasks after their five-wicket win tonight to nail a 2-1 series win - the same margin as the T20 contest.

Chasing an inadequate 185 - New Zealand bowled out in the 44th over - England got the job done with 75 balls to spare.

Captain Alastair Cook contributed a tidy 46, fellow lefthander Eoin Morgan a racy 39 in 24 balls and Jonathan Trott a tidy 38.

The toss was important, if not turning the outcome into a lay down misère.

England won it, their seamers had New Zealand on the ropes early and their batsmen were left with a comfortable assignment.

New Zealand's seamers were 10kph slower than England's best, Steven Finn, and even though there was bounce in the pitch, they found it far harder to make use of than Finn and Jimmy Anderson.

If the ANZ international series was a horse race, New Zealand began well, set the early pace but were run down well before turning for home, England winning easing away.

New Zealand had a brief hope of getting into the contest when Tim Southee removed Cook and Trott in the space of seven balls to have England 112 for three, and despite a couple of late slipups as they homed in on the target, that was as close as it got.

New Zealand's innings was undermined from the start by hostile seam bowling by Finn and Anderson.

The hosts had made much of the need to get off to a livelier start than they had in Napier in the previous game, but by the end of the 10th over, New Zealand were listing badly at 18 for three.

Finn's height, pace and bounce was too much for New Zealand's top order. Openers BJ Watling and Hamish Rutherford managed three between them off 29 balls and Kane Williamson edged a straight one from Anderson.

Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott put together 53 before Elliott was run out after a catastrophic breakdown in communications.

Taylor fell to a faint edge, which he referred to the third umpire, in vain.

The only positive out of New Zealand's innings came from captain Brendon McCullum. He had just sixi off his first 24 balls, but blasted another 73 runs off 44 balls - clouting five sixes - before being last man out, caught by Anderson above his head a pace inside the mid wicket boundary.

Finn had three for 10 off his first eight overs before McCullum made a mess of his ninth. Still three for 27 was an outstanding return.

OFfspinner Graeme Swann became the eighth English bowler to reach 100 ODI wickets in the innings, while Anderson, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad rounded out a strong bowling display, backed by sharp fielding.

McCullum did not keep wicket during the innings due to an abdominal strain. However he took a full part in the field, Watling taking the gloves.

England head to Queenstown for a four-day fixture against a New Zealand XI, starting on Wednesday.

- NZ Herald

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