In a manner befitting their previous one-day international series, New Zealand and England have taken this edition to a decider at Christchurch's Hagley Oval on Saturday.

In June 2015, England won 3-2 in a duel that produced a then-world record 3151 runs for five matches.

However, this contest has offered bowlers more than just the prospect of delivering throwdowns.

A total of 2157 runs have been scored; that aggregate will not be threatened unless there is a 1000-run thriller in the finale.


Read more: Cricket: Black Caps hero Ross Taylor hopeful of playing in series decider against England
Little divides the ability of these two teams and, with less than 15 months until the World Cup in England, both are contenders.

England are ranked No.3 in the world and New Zealand are No.4. That order could swap depending on whoever wins the last match.

Read more: Cricket: Which is New Zealand's greatest ODI innings?

England are currently ranked No.3 in the world. Photo / Getty
England are currently ranked No.3 in the world. Photo / Getty

More importantly it will give both sides a key gauge - and potentially a mental advantage - going into the 50-over format's pinnacle event. Remember, this England side beat Australia 4-1 in January. They have revolutionised their game since getting ousted from pool play at the 2015 World Cup. For New Zealand to keep pace with them is a significant barometer reading.

Three of the four matches have been decided in the final over.

At Hamilton, the result came courtesy of Mitchell Santner belting Chris Woakes to the embankment, leaving four balls to spare; at Wellington, Woakes exacted revenge when Kane Williamson could not get a four to tie or a six to win off the final ball; at Dunedin, Henry Nicholls pasted Tom Curran over backward square leg with three balls remaining.

The only anomaly has been England's cruise to victory in 37.5 overs at Mt Maunganui.

Ross Taylor centuries have underwritten both New Zealand's wins. To say the result of the series hinges on his fitness is hardly hyperbole.

During Wednesday's 181 not out he suffered a recurrence of the problem which forced him out of the third match.

"I obviously won't be 100, but we'll have to wait and see with the next couple of days off and give it the best chance possible," Taylor said yesterday.

On 109 he re-injured his right hip and quadricep stealing a run, but went on to blast 72 from 41 balls.

"It wasn't the most elegant dive you've seen. I just felt it a little bit. So I got the physio out and, as I batted on, cramp started setting in.

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said Taylor would be assessed at training today.

"We need to know whether it's an injury that gets worse through playing or whether he can grin and bear it.

"With the tests around the corner it's not something you would risk if it was an injury that could potentially rule him out for months."

Read more: Cricket: Ross Taylor innings opens flood of memories

Ross Taylor celebrates his century during the 4th ODI between New Zealand and England. Photo / Getty
Ross Taylor celebrates his century during the 4th ODI between New Zealand and England. Photo / Getty

Hesson said the century could be put on another pedestal given the context of coming in at 2-2 and chasing 336.

"Ross has got some good hundreds for us but that was – and we don't use the word often – great.

"Any side in the world would consider that a great innings."

On the flipside, Hesson said their inconsistent fielding needed work after catches were dropped, harbour bridges gave away runs and overthrows were conceded.

"We were good the game before, but average yesterday at best.

"The effort in the field is something we talk about, and that includes running off the ball. That's a non-negotiable.

"We weren't at the standard we need to be until the last 15 overs."