New Zealand v England: Tourists win third ODI to clinch series
Third one-day international, Auckland:
England 186-5 (37.3 overs) beat New Zealand 185 (43.5 overs) by five wickets
England thumped New Zealand by five wickets in the third one-day international in Auckland to seal a 2-1 series win.
Steven Finn claimed 3-27 as the hosts were bundled out for 185 in 43.5 overs, despite Brendon McCullum's defiant 79 off 67 balls.
Alastair Cook made 46, Eoin Morgan a rapid 39 and Jonathan Trott 38 in England's largely untroubled chase.
Victory, completed with 12.3 overs to spare, secured a first ODI series triumph over the Kiwis for 19 years.
Not since the 1994 Texaco Trophy had England beaten New Zealand in a bilateral limited-overs campaign, but those who witnessed this convincing win, or Wednesday's eight-wicket mauling in Napier, can have few complaints about the destiny of the trophy.
It also served as a timely fillip for the tourists ahead of the three-Test series which starts on 6 March, while the New Zealand management cannot fail to have been concerned by the manner in which their side were comprehensively outplayed twice in four days.
The result at Eden Park was rarely in doubt from the moment England, having won the toss, reduced the Black Caps to 11-3.
England in New Zealand
- 1st T20: England won by 40 runs, Auckland
- 2nd T20: New Zealand won by 55 runs, Hamilton
- 3rd T20: England won by 10 wickets, Wellington
- 1st ODI: NZ won by three wickets, Hamilton
- 2nd ODI: England won by eight wickets, Napier
- 3rd ODI: England won by five wickets, Auckland
- 1st Test, Dunedin, 6-10 March
- 2nd Test, Wellington, 14-18 March
- 3rd Test, Auckland, 22-26 March
The loss of Cook and Trott in quick succession was the closest England came to suffering a wobble in their pursuit, with the dismissals of Morgan and Jos Buttler arriving too late to have any bearing on the outcome. Joe Root, as in the previous match, hit the winning runs.
That England could afford those slip-ups owed much to their performance with the ball.
Steven Finn's opening spell of 2-6 off six overs was nigh on faultless - albeit on a pitch that suited his pace and bounce - and included the wickets of BJ Watling and Hamish Rutherford courtesy of outside edges.
In between, the impressive James Anderson accounted for Kane Williamson in similar fashion and left New Zealand grateful for a partly restorative stand of 53 for the fourth wicket between Grant Elliott and Ross Taylor.
They fell in the space of nine deliveries, Elliott run out after being sent back by the culpable Taylor as he went in search of a second to fine-leg, and Taylor caught behind cutting at Stuart Broad.
James Franklin offered the tamest of return catches to Graeme Swann - the off-spinner's 100th one-day international wicket - before Nathan McCullum edged the returning Finn low to slip.
Although McCullum dented Finn's figures with two fours and a six during an over that cost 17 - the skipper was responsible for 11 of the 18 boundaries New Zealand managed in their innings - he received minimal resistance from the lower order.
Andrew Ellis top-edged Stuart Broad to fine-leg, Chris Woakes pinned Kyle Mills in front in the next over, and McCullum took sixes at the expense of both before he followed two meaty maximums off Swann by holing out at deep midwicket.
The departure of Ian Bell for 24, caught at fine-leg attempting to pull Ellis, barely checked England's fluent early progress as Cook and Trott added a serene 69 for the second wicket.
Tim Southee, finding sufficient movement to locate the outside edge, removed both in successive overs, but Morgan - dropped from the Test squad - gave the impression of a man eager to return home with a muscular 39 off 24 balls.
He swung Ellis to fine-leg moments before Buttler was caught behind on the pull, a dismissal that did no more than give Southee even more admirable figures of 3-48.