Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: Black Caps claim 4-0 series win

New Zealand celebrate their series win following game five of the one day international series against India. Photo / Getty
New Zealand celebrate their series win following game five of the one day international series against India. Photo / Getty

New Zealand 303-5
India 216
New Zealand win by 87 runs to take the five-match series 4-0.

Tales of New Zealand cricketing triumph tend to be rare. The 4-0 one-day international series victory over world champions India is the best in the sport's shorter forms since the 3-0 Chappell-Hadlee trophy defeat of then-world champions Australia in February 2007.

The crowd's euphoria rained upon Brendon McCullum and his team, and deservedly so. Standing ovations were the order of the evening; fans know quality when they see it. The smiles were indelible.

Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor led the ongoing resuscitation of the nations' cricketing pulse in the final match. Their imperious streak resulted in a third century partnership in five matches, making 152 runs from 151 balls for the third wicket after coming together in the 13th over.

That was the chassis in 303 for five, the third highest first innings at the ground. No one has chased higher and India was no exception, hobbling to 216.

Virat Kohli (82 from 78) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (47 from 72) did their best against a rampant required run rate and a bowling attack, led by debutant Matt Henry with four wickets for 38, in a take-no-prisoners mood. Kyle Mills and Mitchell McClenaghan assisted Henry's entry in the eighth over by restricting India to 15 for one.

Matt Henry celebrates his wicket of Ajinkya Rahane. Photo / Getty
Matt Henry celebrates his wicket of Ajinkya Rahane. Photo / Getty

As New Zealanders have become accustomed this summer, Taylor led the way with another century; 102 off 106 balls. It was his 10th ODI century and, given his Hamilton effort on Tuesday, the fourth instance of a New Zealander scoring back-to-back centuries in an ODI after Mark Greatbatch, Martin Guptill and himself.

He incarcerated his legside bravado for the most part, only unleashing it towards the end with a series of slog sweeps, one of which went for six while another got him out. Taylor continues to captivate in what is developing into a colossus of a career.

Williamson made 88 off 91 balls. The expectations of the child prodigy are being delivered by the man. All those years in the ascendancy through school and age group level are paying dividends. His biggest asset next to a Teflon technique is an impervious temperament when the pressure's on. He gets about as rattled as a champion sheepdog on A Dog's Show.

Mixed into his innings was a rare touch of cheek. The normally respectful batsman launched a slower ball from Mohammed Shami over long-off for six with what appeared to be a forward defence extension. Sir Viv Richards here we come... Then whistled a ramp shot off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Hello Virender Sehwag... Two footwork perfect sweeps for four from Ravindra Jadeja outside off stump added further style points.

Williamson became the fourth New Zealander to score a half-century in five consecutive ODIs, joining Martin Guptill (2011-12), Roger Twose (2000-01) and Andrew Jones (who made six in a row in 1988-89).

If Williamson has, to use the current parlance, a 'work on' it's that he is yet to score any of his three one-day internationals centuries at home. Tsk, tsk... Backing the champions at Nos 3 and 4 were cameos from Brendon McCullum (23 runs off 17 balls), Jimmy Neesham (34 off 19 balls) and Luke Ronchi (11 off 5 balls) who gobbled up runs at the death.

India started well with the ball. Kumar and Shami acknowledged captain MS Dhoni's call after the second Hamilton loss to use their brains and improvise. Their back-of-a-length bowling kept Ryder and Martin Guptill buttoned early. However, the momentum of the New Zealand innings with wickets in hand eventually enabled the hosts to prosper. Each bowler was dispatched for an almost uniform six runs an over. Dropped catches didn't help; Dhoni's shoulders drooped when Varun Aaron and Shami spilt chances.

SCOREBOARD

- NZ Herald

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