England edge New Zealand to take series lead

England edge New Zealand to take series lead

England edge New Zealand to take series lead

England, previously unsuccessful in all four one-day worldwide visits to the Westpac Stadium, got the job done this time to go 2-1 up with two to play after Woakes defied home centurion Kane Williamson by defending 15 in the final over.

New Zealand won the toss and not surprisingly opted to bowl. After five failed attempts, majority involving plenty of heartache, they all but succumbed to a sixth thanks to a wonderful century from Kane Williamson, which reignited New Zealand's run-chase after their middle order had collapsed to Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. "When Woakesy got the run out I was thinking Kane really doesn't want to take a risk, and the biggest risk is trying to hit a slower ball in the air".

With 22 needed off the last two overs, Williamson hit a four off the first delivery to reach his ton.

New Zealand was then 199-7 and its hopes of winning appeared over. Tim Southee wasn't allowed to settle before pulled to deep square leg and though Williamson reached his century of 133 balls, 15 off the final over proved tantalisingly out of reach.

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Recognising that runs would be hard to come by at the Westpac Stadium, the travelling top-four batsmen ensured they would not fall foul of their boundary-or-nothing mentality which has seen them caught out in the past, as they all scored at a strike-rate less than a run-a-ball. Williamson tried everything but the odds were against him on a pitch which did not favor attacking stroke play.

The wicket has been described as "ugly" by both sides and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said he wanted first use of it.

Santner was then unluckily run out for 41 when Woakes got his hand to a straight drive from Williamson and deflected the ball back onto the stumps, leaving the all-rounder stranded and New Zealand 199 for seven with 4.4 overs remaining.

"Very frustrating; credit to England - they played well", Williamson said.

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"They deserved the win".

Only when Eoin Morgan and Stokes, who raced England towards victory in the second match in Mount Maunganui, were together in a stand of 71 did England suggest permanency but it took them 20 overs and was hardly fluent. If the T20 revolution does start to sweep away other formats, it is to be hoped that supporters fight to save the one-day worldwide with nearly as much zeal as they defend Tests - because a close 50-over match, as this one was throughout, makes for a rattling good day's cricket. At the top of the order, openers Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy struggled from the start and when Trent Boult claimed Roy's wicket for 15 at the end of the eighth over, England were 25 for one.

Having brought up his eleventh ODI century off the first ball of the penultimate over with a four off Tom Curran (0-49), the Surrey right-armer showed good composure to respond well and give away only three more singles from his over.

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