Ross Taylor's Epic 181* Stuns England, New Zealand Level 5-Match Series
08 March, 2018, 02:04 | Author: John Swanson
New Zealand ended on 339 for five in reply to England's 335 for nine, taking the five-match series to a crunch decider in Christchurch on Saturday.
Admittedly the odds are not overwhelmingly in their favour - England are 8/13 for victory, compared to New Zealand's 13/10 - but the manner in which England got across the line at Wellington no doubt aids the impression that they've got the measure of this series.
Talking about his achievement, Taylor said, "It was nice to be there at the end".
New Zealand made one switch, the fit-again Ross Taylor coming in for Mark Chapman, meaning they retain the twin-spin attack with Ish Sodhi alongside Mitchell Santner.
Steady scoring helped Taylor reach his 19th ODI century but a reoccurrence of his thigh injury hindered his movement.
The 33-year-old came to the crease in the third over after openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro both fell for ducks, the latter a golden duck. The Kiwi middle-order batsman's swashbuckling innings came off just 147 deliveries and was laced with 17 fours and six huge sixes. His first four balls were smashed for 15 runs to leave the Black Caps needing a run a ball from the final six overs. As a result, a significant drop in his six-hitting frequency and he did not even hit one six in his previous 21 ODI innings where he scored 950 runs. De Grandhomme picked out Woakes at backward point and Curran and Woakes used all their variations to keep England in the game. However, Bairstow's wicket triggered a remarkable collapse that saw the tourists lose eight wickets for 46 runs.
Led by Bairstow's and Joe Root's centuries, the visitors plundered 335-9 - at the time the second highest score at the University Oval in an ODI.
England were on target for over 400 until Sodhi chimed in with figures of 4-58.
England, having been in a strong position, had scored 50 runs in 11 overs and looked in danger of being bowled out before Curran hit 18 runs from the final six balls.
This former New Zealand captain used to be a six-hitting machine for almost half of his career before he changed his game.
The tone for the England innings had been set by a superb opening partnership of 77 in 10.2 overs between Roy and Bairstow and after Kane Williamson, captaining New Zealand for the 100th time, made a blunder and sent England in to bat. This was also the second hundred of the series for Ross Taylor.
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