A see-saw series ended with a resounding 10-wicket victory for England in Wellington. New Zealand, batting first having been put in, were held to a modest 139-8 that never looked like being enough, as Stuart Broad found his form with the ball, taking 3-15. Only Martin Guptill (59 from 79) posted a significant score for the hosts, and even with danger man Brendon McCullum hitting 26 from 23, there was no real impetus during their innings. Jade Dernbach followed on from his impressive performance in Hamilton with 3-36, and Alex Hales and Michael Lumb ensured the rest of the team could put their feet up in the dressing room as they reached the required target inside 13 overs. This record stand ensured a 2-1 series win for the tourists, who will look to carry their form forward into the 50-over series, for which they return to Hamilton on Sunday.
After surrendering a 1-0 series lead, there was a danger of heads dropping in the England camp, as has appeared to have happened in recent one-day series. New Zealand hit back in the second match after a heavy defeat, but on this occasion England were able to address the problems that surfaced in the second game, and produce a dramatic response of their own. Broad was effusive in his praise for his team-mates, who played some exceptional cricket in the matches they won, and with a settled side, it appears the key pieces are starting to slot into place. Michael Lumb’s 53 from 34 and Alex Hales’ 80 from 42 demonstrated what this opening pair is capable of, and Broad and Dernbach are ably supported by spinner James Tredwell. The key now is to make the performances such as that in Hamilton as rare as possible.
Not one of the games in this series has been a closely-fought affair, which was a disappointment from a competitive point of view. The short boundaries at the grounds chosen for the three games, while the same for both sides, did have an effect on some of the hitting on display – particularly in England’s massive total in Auckland. However poor fielding from New Zealand was also prominent, and England collapsed in Hamilton when chasing an achievable target. The forthcoming ODI series is also a three-match affair, and New Zealand are as dangerous a side in this format as they are in Twenty20 internationals. There will be a number of changes to the England squad, with Alastair Cook resuming his duties as captain and Broad returning to the rank and file, and having lost the most recent 50 over series to India these matches present another chance to build towards the Champions Trophy later in the year.
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BIOGRAPHY: Ethan Hazard
BIOGRAPHY: Daniel Sturridge