New Zealand held to 223 despite Santner, Nicholls fifties

New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor under goes a fitness test ahead of the fifth and final ODI against England on Saturday. Stu Forster  Getty Images

For the decider in their five-match series against New Zealand, England turned on a near-perfect performance to win their sixth one-day series in a row.

In an ironic touch, Ben Stokes hit the winning runs at the home of the major association who signed him to play earlier in the summer.

The final match of the series is in Christchurch on Saturday. The result underlined their status as bona fide contenders to win next year's pinnacle 50-over event.

Bairstow led the charge with his fourth ODI century, his 60-ball 104 including nine fours and six sixes, Bizarrely, he was out hit-wicket to Trent Boult in the 21st over.

It was the fastest century by a England opener in one-day cricket and the third fastest by any England player. In the end, it was Ben Stokes who finished with a couple of huge sixes off Ish Sodhi and stamped England's authority on what was a thoroughly competitive series barring the last game. Hales's tumbling effort at deep square leg set the standard, only for Bairstow to better it two balls later: a one-handed grab after scarpering along the boundary, within a whisker of the sponge, accounting for Tim Southee.

Bairstow dominated the bowlers, smashing nine fours and six sixes as he thrashed a century from just 58 balls. New Zealand came to bat bat did not present very handsome total. The match he was run out in and the two he missed, New Zealand lost. However, Jonny Bairstow came and conquered once again.

The bowling all-rounder compiled 67 from 71 balls, his highest score in the format, eclipsing the 63 not out in the loss at Mt Maunganui.

New Zealand, sent into bat, stumbled to 93 for six as the top order fell with an all-too-familiar regularity before Henry Nicholls and Mitch Santner put some steel in the innings with an 84-run stand.

While Martin Guptill has done well to give New Zealand a steady start with Tom Latham, they lack the fear factor that McCullum gave them, and their success as individuals or strike rate was far from what New Zealand coaching staff envisioned.

What has been impressive is his play against the spinner, having swept Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali and coming out of the crease with good effect to keep the scoreboard moving.

Both had bowled out after 34 overs.

In the fourth ODI, New Zealand were two for two before Ross Taylor saved the day with his unbeaten 181.

"If you only have five options that means you've got to drop another bowler and in the one-day game, almost every game, there is always someone for who it doesn't go as well as they'd like so it is always good to have that sixth option".

So, the first ODI between England and New Zealand started in 25th February, 2018 where as the local team New Zealand got the honour.

New Zealand lost Colin Munro in the first over to Woakes (three for 32), for a second-ball duck in the first over when he mistimed an attempted leg-side flick to loop an easy catch for Jos Buttler.

Woakes deserved particular credit for his opening spells across this series - 5-0-14-2, 5-1-18-2, 5-1-13-1, 5-2-14-1, 6-1-13-1 - such consistency is an asset any team would welcome. Mark Chapman replaced him for the crucial encounter in Christchurch. He played inside the line to such an extent that Ali suddenly looked like Muttiah Muralitharan. With this England have clinched the five-match ODI series by 3-2.

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