Andrew Alderson

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

Cricket: England win third ODI

England 287-6
New Zealand 253 all out
England win by 34 runs
New Zealand win the series 2-1

England plundered 76 runs from their last four overs to annul New Zealand's chances of a clean sweep at Trent Bridge in the final one-day international of their three-match series.

A spirited chase for 288 proved a step too far for a New Zealand side aiming for their first clean sweep against a higher-ranked one-day team since the 3-0 drubbing of Australia in 2006-07.

Further history beckoned. New Zealand had won all the games in an ODI series against England only once; in the home series of 1982-83.

"If you strip it right back, we were excellent for 90 per cent of it, but those runs at the end and losing four for 20-odd in the middle order let us down," New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said.

Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler snuffed out most hope. He incited a revival reminiscent of his T20 form earlier in the year at Auckland and Hamilton.

When he came to the wicket at the end of the 46th over ,he obliterated the New Zealand death bowling taking 47 runs off 16 balls with a bat seeming to consist of a 100 per cent sweet spot.

Crouching right in front of his stumps, he was brutal hitting straight, either past the bowler or behind the wicket.

"On ground like this with a player as destructive as Buttler there is no room for error. Any time a batsmen faces 16 balls and wins a man-of-the match you know he's had a reasonable influence on the game," McCullum said.

England captain Alastair Cook marvelled at his wicketkeeper-batsman's reverse sweeping compared to his own more orthodox play.

"I think I played a reverse sweep off a seamer in a one-day game once," Cook reminisced. "You'd have to find it but it is in the footage somewhere. But I'm not sure I can play a slower ball by adjusting, and still [reverse] hitting it over third man."

Buttler combined with Eoin Morgan for a sixth-wicket partnership of 62 off 22 balls. Morgan finished with 49 off 40. Ian Bell anchored the innings with 82, threading the ball effortlessly through stacked offside fields.

At 211-5, New Zealand had England contained on an excellent batting wicket.
New Zealand's best bowler was Mitchell McClenaghan. His overall figures of 3-54 blew out courtesy of his last two overs which went for 31. His final over required 10 balls to compensate for two wides and two no-balls.

Until then, McClenaghan's three spells had resulted in 3-23. In the early spells he continued to fulfil his designated role as captain Brendon McCullum's aggressive weapon hunting for wickets.

Tim Southee returned from his one-match break but bowled erratically (0-65 from nine overs) and misfielded too often. He wasn't alone. The New Zealand fielding swayed from sublime - including two Martin Guptill run outs - to sloppy with misfielding and spilt catches.

With a series won, New Zealand could at least reflect on a batting revival from Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor who will be the subject of much opposition video analysis heading into the Champions Trophy.

Taylor's 71 was his third consecutive ODI half-century and underlined the batting leadership he offers the team. Eventually he was forced to hole out to cow-corner through an alley-oop catch to Tim Bresnan - Steve Finn threw the ball in-field as he toppled over the boundary.

Guptill's contribution was simple. He averaged 330 after being dismissed for the
first time in the series.

The New Zealanders will acknowledge their one-day death bowling needs work and the middle order batting still feels brittle when pressure is applied.

Their innings threatened to unravel at 122-6 in the 25th over but a 53-run, 61-ball seventh-wicket stand between Taylor and Nathan McCullum was reassuring. It gave pep to what was always going to be a tricky chase after England's late batting nous.

Until Taylor anchored the innings, New Zealand suffered from England's problem in the previous two matches where no one could build on a solid start.

Luke Ronchi (22), Martin Guptill (38) and Kane Williamson (19) got starts.

England benefitted from the return of Finn and Stuart Broad to the attack but the spearhead proved to be off-spinner James Tredwell, who filled in for Graeme Swann.
Judging by his ability to attack the stumps and limit width for the New Zealand batsmen he could be a threat on slower wickets in the Champions Trophy. He took the three key wickets of Martin Guptill (bowled between bat and pad), Brendon McCullum (caught behind cutting too close) and Taylor. He finished with figures of three for 51 from nine overs.

***

For some the match highlight came in the break between innings.

Set the challenge of bowling and hitting three stumps, then two stumps, and finally a single stump in successive balls, Chris Newell held his nerve to complete the task and win 50,000 pounds.

A captivated crowd roared more than at any stage in the match itself.
Yorkshireman Newell said he hadn't played properly for 20 years but felt there was a bit of Fred Trueman lurking in his action.

A family holiday to the Boxing Day test in Melbourne is planned for the money. The Caribbean is the back-up plan.

- NZ Herald

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