Eoin Morgan and Joe Root ensured England completed a comfortable five-wicket victory over New Zealand in the third and final one day international match at Eden Park yesterday to wrap up the series.
Root (28 not out) and Morgan (39) built on the foundation laid by captain Alastair Cook (46) and Jonathan Trott (38) as England reached 186-5 in 37.3 overs to complete the 2-1 series victory.
England’s opening bowlers James Anderson and Steve Finn had set up the win when they helped bowl the hosts out for a paltry 185 in 43.5 overs, with New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum (79) the only batsman to provide any resistance.
Anderson and Finn put immense pressure on the top order to reduce the hosts to 11-3 inside eight overs, which ensured they never got their innings going as they were unable to take too many risks and lost wickets at regular intervals.
“It’s great to be bowling at the other end from Jimmy,” Finn said in a televised interview. “He’s one of the best, if not the best fast bowler in the world, so to be bowling at the other end and learn and feed off him has been brilliant.”
“Our job is to take wickets in the first 10 overs and fortunately we have done that in the last couple of games and it seems to have pegged New Zealand back early,” he said.
Apart from McCullum’s fireworks for the second successive match, former captain Ross Taylor’s dismissal for 28 was the only other talking point in New Zealand’s innings that was at least 100 runs short of a competitive target on the small ground.
Taylor was given out by umpire Chris Gaffaney after he appeared to nick a delivery from Stuart Broad to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, though the batsman immediately asked for it to be reviewed.
None of the review tools available, especially “hot spot” that shows whether a batsman has hit the ball, appeared conclusive, but television umpire Rod Tucker upheld the on-field umpire’s decision to Taylor’s visible annoyance.
Middlesex paceman Finn was the pick of England’s bowlers, having figures of 3-10 from eight overs before McCullum, who hammered five sixes in his rearguard action, and Andrew Ellis took 17 runs from his ninth over. Finn finished with figures of 3-27.
The tourists now head with confidence into the three Test series having also won the preceding Twenty20 series 2-1
New Zealand had some cause for concern yesterday when McCullum suffered a side strain which prevented him keeping wicket during the England innings.
Test wicketkeeper B.J. Watling took the gloves for New Zealand while McCullum fielded in the outfield and appeared to move comfortably.
The New Zealand team for the Test matches is due to be named today.
England now move to Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island for a four-day match against a New Zealand XI before the first Test begins at Dunedin’s University Oval on March 6.
Additional reporting by staff writer