Ross Taylor and Tom Latham    AFP
Ross Taylor and Tom Latham AFP

Ross Taylor‘s magnificent knock of 181* guided New Zealand to 5-wicket win against England at Dunedin on Wednesday. With this New Zealand have levelled the five-match ODI series 2-2. Taylor entered the crease when the scoreboard read 2 for 2, with Martin Guptill and Colin Munro gone for zero. He carried the bat and found contributions from Kane Williamson (45), Tom Latham (71), Colin de Grandhomme (23) and Henry Nicholls (13*). Earlier, Ish Sodhi spun England in his web with a 4-wicket haul. For England, only Tom Curran was the pick of bowlers ending with figures of 2 for 57. Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Mark Wood were hammered by the Kiwis.

Taylor limped through much of his innings in Dunedin after aggravating a thigh injury, but batted on. Taylor scored 17 fours and six sixes as New Zealand reached the target with three balls to spare, wincing with pain after every shot in the latter half of his innings. His heroics in scoring his 19th ODI century overshadowed a fine batting performance from England, marred by a late collapse that cost them dearly. New Zealand’s chase started disastrously losing the openers in succession. Williamson and Taylor rebuilt with an 84-run partnership before England’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes dismissed the New Zealand captain at 45 in the 17th over.

Taylor and Latham then combined for a 187-run partnership, with Latham contributing 71. Taylor’s injury came when he was on 109 and had to dive to avoid a run-out, inflaming the thigh strain that forced him out of the previous match in the series. England slowed New Zealand’s momentum with Latham’s dismissal and de Grandhomme’s departure on 23. With three runs needed off the final over, Nicholls faced two dot balls then smashed Curran for six as Taylor left the field to a standing ovation.

Earlier, centuries by Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root helped England set New Zealand a challenging total of 336. Bairstow blazed his way to 138 off 106 balls and Root grafted out a hard-fought 102. England were 267 for 1 in the 38th over when Bairstow’s dismissal sparked the loss of six wickets for 21 runs. At one point England appeared unlikely to see out their 50 overs before a late cameo of 22 off 10 balls from Tom Curran. Sodhi finished with four for 58, while Colin Munro and Trent Boult took two wickets apiece.

The deciding match will be played at University Oval in Dunedin on March 10.

Brief scores:

England 335 for 9 in 50 overs (Jonny Bairstow 138, Joe Root 102; Ish Sodhi 34 for 58, Colin Munro 2 for 53, Trent Boult 2 for 56) lose to New Zealand 339 for 5 in 49.3 overs (Ross Taylor 181*, Tom Latham 71; Tom Curran 2 for 57) by 5 wickets

Player of the Match: Ross Taylor

(Inputs from AFP)