Alastair Cook, Joe Root help England level series against New Zealand

Alastair Cook played a captain’s knock to help his side achieve the target of 270 in the second ODI against New Zealand at Napier © Getty Images

Napier: Feb 20, 2013

Half-centuries from Alastair Cook (78), Joe Root (79 not out) and Jonathan Trott (65 not out) helped England register a comfortable eight-wicket victory over New Zealand to level the three-match series at 1-1 in Napier.

Chasing 270, skipper Alastair Cook started well and looked set againt the Kiwi bowlers who failed to pick up quick wickets. Cook and Ian Bell shared an 89-run partnership for the opening wicket before Kane Williamson dismissed him.

Trott joined Cook and the duo lead England’s charge as they never looked uncomfortable throughout the chase. Despite Cook’s departure in the 32nd over, a 121-run stand between Root and Trott for the third wicket took England past the New Zealand total.

Earlier, Former captain Ross Taylor returned to form with a century as New Zealand set a challenging target of 270 against England in the second one-day international at McLean Park in Napier.

The Black Caps, within sight of a series win after a three-wicket win in the opening match in Hamilton, were all out for 269 in 48.5 overs after losing the toss and being sent in to bat.

The home side recovered from a slow start thanks to a century from Taylor and a quickfire 74 from 36 balls from current skipper Brendon McCullum.

James Anderson was the pick of England’s bowlers, claiming figures of five for 34.

New Zealand, missing injured opener Martin Guptill, made a nervy start on a batsman-friendly wicket, with the first boundary coming when Hamish Rutherford pulled a delivery from James Anderson in the fifth over.

The pressure paid off for Anderson in his next over, when he coaxed an edge from BJ Watling (7) which carried to England captain Alastair Cook for an easy catch at first slip.

The same combination sent Rutherford (11) on his way two overs later after the 23-year-old tried to lift the pace on his ODI debut.

New Zealand’s frustration mounted as they reached just 22 runs after 12 overs, following miserly spells from Anderson and Steve Finn, who conceded just 11 runs apiece from their first six overs.

Kane Williamson and Taylor gradually increased the run rate, putting on 72 runs together to take the Black Caps to 91 before Williamson (33) dragged a ball from Chris Woakes on to his stumps to again slow the home side’s momentum.

New Zealand’s struggle was apparent when Taylor, in his best performance since returning to the international fold after being axed as captain late last year, brought up his half century off 81 balls with only three fours.

Taylor went after the bowling after reaching the milestone, smashing Stuart Broad for six as the Black Caps went into the final 15 overs on a modest 140 but with wickets in hand and looking to build a competitive total.

Grant Elliott’s dismissal for 23, caught by substitute fielder Jonny Bairstow off a top edge from Finn, again threatened to put the brakes on before captain McCullum came to the party, smashing 50 off 26 balls.
The pair transformed New Zealand’s fortunes, with McCullum departing on 74 after hitting four sixes and nine fours.

Taylor reached his century off 116 balls with a four but was dismissed by the next delivery he faced and the tail failed to fire, leaving England with a tricky but achievable target.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 269 (Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum 74; Chris Woakes 3 for 68, James Anderson 5 for 34) lost to England 270 for 2 (Joe Root 79*, Alastair Cook 78; Kane Williamson 1 for 39) by 8 wickets.
(With inputs from AFP)

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