England 1/5 to win one-day series with New Zealand

Cricket
England celebrate a crucial wicket
England celebrate a crucial wicket

England are 1/5 with Sky Bet to win the one-day series with New Zealand after winning game three at the Westpac Stadium to go 2-1 up.

The tourists had a poor record at the venue but held their nerve to defy home centurion Kane Williamson and close out a four-run victory.

In a thrillingly unpredictable contest, played on a poor pitch, Williamson (112no) and Mitchell Santner resuscitated the chase - with a dash of controversy thrown in - as the Kiwis recovered from 103 for six in a resourceful stand of 96.

At a stadium where England had lost all their four previous ODIs, including back-to-back hammerings by New Zealand and Sri Lanka at the 2015 World Cup, spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid wreaked havoc as the Kiwis collapsed from 80 for one in reply to 234 all out.

But the twists and turns then included Santner's survival on two, when a clean catch by Jason Roy at midwicket off Rashid would have left the hosts 112 for seven yet was instead ruled not to have carried.

After Santner eventually went in the most unfortunate circumstances, run out at the non-striker's end via a deflected straight-drive on to the stumps, Williamson took his team to the brink with his 11th ODI hundred but could not quite manage 15 off the final over.

New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi took three for 53 after England were put in, but his intervention was overshadowed by Moeen and Rashid.

After Martin Guptill went early in the chase, Colin Munro dominated a second-wicket stand of 68 until, one short of 50, he poked Rashid to extra-cover - where Ben Stokes took a diving catch.

That was the beginning of a collapse, in which Moeen took two in two, Mark Chapman slicing a catch to point and Tom Latham lbw first ball as England overturned DRS.

Out-of-form Henry Nicholls was lbw for a duck as well, to Rashid, and Colin de Grandhomme holed out off Moeen.

With Santner initially for company, though, Williamson would not give up despite the five wickets which fell for 23 to Moeen (three for 36) and Rashid.

England's batsmen had quickly discovered what they were up against on a pitch far from ideal for ODI cricket.

There were necessary late readjustments for unpredictable pace and bounce, with lateral movement in the mix too.

It was to the tourists' credit that only number 11 departed in single figures and no fair criticism that no one quite managed a half-century in such choppy waters.

Roy was first to go, unable to keep extra bounce from Trent Boult from the clutches of slip, and then Joe Root's attempt to engage counter-attack foundered on a mistimed big hit at De Grandhomme - who applied the brakes further in a miserly spell of 10-1-24-1.

The effectiveness of his medium-pace signposted a guilty pitch, but conditions were perhaps best encapsulated by Stokes' constrained innings.

Arriving after Jonny Bairstow drove over and round a Sodhi variation, Stokes dug in to help Eoin Morgan more than double the score in a hard-working stand of 71.

Stokes' statistics spoke volumes.

Required to bat entirely against his instincts, it took him 36 balls to reach double figures, and the first of just two boundaries came from the 53rd he faced before he was caught off Sodhi at long-off for 39 from 73.

Morgan had already gone two short of his 50, bowled when Tim Southee got one to zip through and hit off-stump.

Handy cameos right through the order eked out 68 for six in the last 10 overs, far from a grand finish but in the end just enough.

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