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February 17, 2013
New Zealand 259 for 7 (Williamson 74, B McCullum 69*) beat England 258 (Trott 68, Bell 64, Root 56, McClenaghan 4-56) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Martin Guptill, batting on one leg after a hamstring injury, helped his captain Brendon McCullum seal a nip-and-tuck chase in the opening ODI in Hamilton, as New Zealand squeezed home by three wickets with seven balls to spare. McCullum, who pushed himself down to No. 6, played a wonderfully paced innings, but kept losing partners to leave England with their noses in front until the final stages, when Guptill contributed vital boundaries to help limit his running.
There were three crucial mini passages of play in the final 12 overs after England had seemingly taken control at 155 for 5. James Anderson, who sent down eight world-class overs, was taken for 17 in his ninth when he started dropping short at McCullum. Then Guptill picked up 10 runs off his first two deliveries back at the crease - including a ramp over third man for six - which was followed by the decisive over, when Chris Woakes was taken for 13 off his last, with Guptill adding two further boundaries as he scored 24 from 10 balls after returning. Such was the adrenalin he sprinted off for runs in the seconds it took for the pain to register.
That left 13 needed off 12 balls. New Zealand only needed five more deliveries with McCullum clearing the midwicket boundary off Stuart Broad - all England's quicks bowled too short to him - before the limping Guptill hit the winning runs. New Zealanders talk of the 'Kiwi Spirit' and you will not see a better example as to what it actually means.
Guptill had retired hurt in sixth over after pulling up on completing a tight single to mid-off. He tried to carry on - without a runner as per the new regulations - but soon signalled he would have to leave the field. It was announced he would bat if required and with Kyle Mills - a capable lower-order player - still to come he shuffled back out to the middle for what may, depending on the seriousness of the injury, be his last contribution of the series.
McCullum's decision to hold himself back at the fall of Ross Taylor's wicket reignited the debate about where he should bat. There was already disquiet about him being as low as No. 5, but he is keen to be able to exploit the batting Powerplay and final 10 overs much in the way England try to use Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler. With a steely glint in his eye, and a never-say-die focus, he showed his judgement to be spot on. However, England will need a debrief over their tactics.
What will frustrate Alastair Cook is that the fast bowlers did so much impressive work, yet their poor overs were so costly that the game was lost. Anderson, for his first eight, did not look like a man who had not bowled in anger since mid-December. His inswinger to BJ Watling was perfect and made him England's most successful international bowler when all formats are combined. Woakes, who has this series to convince he can be the bowling allrounder, nipped out two in the middle order before the latest point on a tough learning curve.
The fielding earned a wicket, too, when Ian Bell's dive at midwicket caused confusion between McCullum and Kane Williamson, who had anchored the chase with a measured 74, and Woakes collected the ball superbly at the stumps. James Franklin was bounced out by Steven Finn, but Nathan McCullum and Andrew Ellis formed important little partnerships to ensure the target was never out of sight.
The closing stages of both innings cost England, because with the bat they lost 7 for 68 in the last 9.3 overs as they failed to use up their allocation. Mitchell McClenaghan, who also picked up an injury when he suffered a side strain - which will keep him out of the rest of the ODI series - took four wickets while Mills showed his experience with an accurate 10 overs.
England's innings was constructed in an old-fashioned style: see off the two new balls when they nipped around, consolidate in the middle with the aim of exploding at the end. Only two-thirds of that worked as Morgan fell early and Buttler, after briefly dazzling, was cut off short of a decisive contribution.
England's top four were all having their first knocks of the tour; Bell and Cook arrived last week after not being part of the Twenty20 squad, Jonathan Trott had been rested since the end of the India Test series and Root did not play the warm-ups on this trip and wasn't needed with the bat in Wellington two days ago. The downtime affected some more than others. Not much can be deduced from Cook's brief stay, Bell looked in decent touch, Trott struggled early before finding some rhythm and Root was the most impressive of the lot.
It was the latest stage in Root's seamless transition to the top level. Arriving shortly before the midway mark he was busy and alert from his first delivery. There was one moment of fortune. On 32 he was given out caught behind off Mills, as he dropped his hands to a short ball, and immediately called for a review that led to the decision being overturned when the TV umpire decided there was conclusive evidence it had come off his sleeve. Opinions from the ground were split. Still, it was a highly mature innings.
While Trott batted in his own bubble, Root worked the gaps and made sure he pushed the fielders. Those attributes made up for the slight lack of power in his game - he also produced the scoop past the keeper - as he went to 50 from 57 balls. But he could not stay to close out the innings and England were at least 20 short of what they should have reached. They were made to pay.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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