Bairstow, Bowlers Lead England Charge To Series

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After the drama in Dunedin this was a canter in Christchurch. England surged to a seven-wicket victory with 17.2 overs to spare to secure their sixth one-day series win a row. Jonny Bairstow made mincemeat of the chase with a 58-ball century, England’s third-fastest and his second in consecutive innings, adding 155 in 20.2 overs for the first wicket alongside the recalled Alex Hales.

The absence of Ross Taylor, who was ruled out on the morning of the game with the quad injury he sustained during his unbeaten 181, was too much for New Zealand to compensate for, especially with their captain Kane Williamson failing. Bairstow and Hales, who was handed a late opportunity in the series when Jason Roy went down with a back spasm, were level-pegging for the first eight overs of the chase, then Bairstow pulled away at top speed.

He took 16 off Colin de Grandhomme’s third over, went to fifty from 38 balls and then really cut loose. He hammered five sixes in eight balls against Ish Sodhi with crisp, clean striking – although none of them were taken in the crowd to win a fan 50,000 dollars.

Bairstow moved to 99 with a pull behind square then dabbed a single to third man to sit behind Jos Buttler (46 balls) and Moeen Ali (53 balls) in England’s quickest centuries before smashing his own stumps trying to manufacture some width against Trent Boult. He has now made four in 16 innings as an opener and has the spot nailed down, although who his long-term partner will be is perhaps more of a debate.

Roy’s injury gave Hales his first outing since announcing he would become a white-ball specialist. Although the pressure was never on in the chase, it was a good effort to play so confidently having not batted for three weeks. He went to his fifty from 67 balls but was then cut off by a fine catch from Williamson at midwicket. By then, however, the result was a formality.

There was just time for Ben Stokes to finish the chase in style in the city of his birth.It is the third time in a year that New Zealand have lost a deciding ODI following reversals against South Africa at home and India away. As against South Africa at Eden Park a year ago, this was a very poor performance with everything to play for.

England were able to take their preferred route when Eoin Morgan won the toss. There was a little early movement and his decision was backed up by fine opening spells from Woakes and Wood. Colin Munro had announced in the build-up that he would no longer play first-class cricket and his first day as an official white-ball specialist did not start well when he got a big a top edge against Woakes while trying to work into the leg side. Other than his 49 in Wellington, it has been a single-digit series for Munro with scores of 6, 1, 0 and 0.

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