CHRISTCHURCH – A masterful century by Jonny Bairstow complemented an exceptional bowling spell as England cruised to a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand to claim the one-day international series 3-2 in Christchurch on Saturday.
Bairstow’s heroics with the bat – 104 off 60 deliveries – backed by 61 from fellow opener Alex Hales saw England overhaul New Zealand’s 223 with a colossal 104 balls remaining to wrap up the winner-takes-all showdown.
“Our bowlers really did set the tone,” said captain Eoin Morgan, who won the toss and made New Zealand bat first.
Chris Woakes, the man of the series, lead the way with 3/32 off his 10 overs, while spinner Adil Rashid finished with 3/42.
“Johnny (Bairstow) played particularly well... but really the game today was won by our bowling unit,” Morgan added in a sentiment shared by Bairstow, who ensured an early end with his 104 from 60 deliveries.
“They set the platform and they have done first up all the way through the series,” said Bairstow.
“The way the guys have taken wickets early on has enabled us to turn the screw through the middle.
“My job is to go out and try and score big hundreds and contribute to match-winning scores, and that’s something I’m trying to do.”
The stark contrast in performances was highlighted in the middle of the 26th over in each innings, when New Zealand were 93/6, while England were 192/2 at the same stage.
Disappointed New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson struggled to find something positive to say about his side, apart from “a good showing” by Mitchell Santner and Henry Nicholls, who put on 84 for the seventh wicket.
“It was a really disappointing effort from our part,” he said.
“You want to come out and play a performance you’d be proud of and today, we (didn’t) in all facets. It was a shame. England were outstanding, and they deserved to win the series.”
Bairstow toyed with the best of New Zealand’s bowling stocks as he smacked nine fours and six sixes.
He eventually brought about his own downfall by belting the stumps as he stepped back to cut a wide Trent Boult delivery.
Hales was at the crease for 74 deliveries for his 61, which included nine boundaries.
Both sides were hit with late replacements, but with marked differences.
New Zealand’s batting maestro Ross Taylor failed a late fitness test, and was replaced by Mark Chapman who made a three-ball duck.
England lost Jason Roy to a back spasm, and his replacement Hales opened with Bairstow in a 155-run stand for the first wicket.
Hales was the second wicket to fall when England were on 177 and just 47 runs short of victory.
A Stokes six finishes things off for England. 3-2 in the ODI series. 229/3 in the 33rd over. Jonny Bairstow leading the way with 104. Live scoring | https://t.co/72J7YqoUGZ #NZvENG pic.twitter.com/Q93LTscLOt
Morgan had a short stay for eight, while Ben Stokes was 26 not out at the end with Joe Root on 23.
After the first four ODIs, which had the series level at 2-2, England had the New Zealand batsmen well worked out.
Colin Munro went on the second ball he faced, caught behind off Woakes for the third time in five innings and for his second consecutive duck.
Mark Wood bowled Kane Williamson for 14 before spinners Rashid and Moeen Ali stepped up to decimate the middle of the New Zealand innings as Tom Latham (10), Chapman, Martin Guptill (47) and Colin de Grandhomme (six) fell in quick succession.
Santner, who rescued New Zealand in the first match, hit a personal-best 67, while Nicholls was out for 55 to give the innings some substance.