England chase share of spoils
Paul Collingwood, England's captain, has said that drawing the one-day series against New Zealand would be one of the high-points of his young captaincy career. After the thrilling tie in Napier the final match in Christchurch offers England a chance to share the spoils after being embarrassingly outplayed in the opening two games.
"If we drew this series it would be right up there," Collingwood said. "If you'd have given me the opportunity to draw the series after those first couple of games I would have taken it.
"It's a great opportunity for us to finish on a real high. We were pretty down after the first two games and I think our last two performances have shown a lot of character so it would be a good turnaround."
Collingwood has been especially impressed with the way his side has been willing to look hard at itself after the two heavy defeats. A number of young players have put in crucial displays such as Phil Mustard's 83 in Napier and Luke Wright's nerveless final over to earn the tie.
"This team have been very honest with themselves," Collingwood added. "We did a lot of chatting as everyone knows and we wanted to perform a lot better and we've come out and done that.
"You learn a lot about the team and the characters and how far you can develop them. In these sorts of series you can develop quite a lot because there are games you can learn a lot from."
New Zealand should have wrapped up the series in Napier but the middle-order threw away the chance after a superb century from Jamie How. Captain Daniel Vettori is among four of the one-day side, along with Jacob Oram, Scott Styris and Brendon McCullum, to have joined the big-money world of the IPL after the recent auction in Mumbai but the prospect of a massive pay-day hasn't helped him get over the disappointment.
"It's not been easy for me to get over Napier but maybe some other guys in the team moved on a little bit quicker," he said. "It's hurt a little bit but I think the team has been able to sit back and reflect on what an amazing game of cricket it was."
Vettori is also aware of the importance of carrying forward momentum into next month's Test series. How has made a major claim for a recall to the Test side, while Jesse Ryder has put his name in the frame for a call-up and Vettori says it's vital the youngsters build on their positive performances.
"We've lost some experienced players over the last few years and people were wondering whether we could rebound from that. Seeing performances from the Jesse Ryder's, Jamie How's and Ross Taylor's throughout the series has been very pleasing," he said.
"We have to make sure it's not a flash in the pan for them, this is the way to play the game and this is what we want to see for them for a number of years - they'll carry that confidence over to the Tests, and over there as well."
New Zealand could make a couple of changes with Daniel Flynn, the 22-year-old batsman, and offspinner Jeetan Patel vying for places. England have to decide whether to gamble on their part-time bowlers to produce 20 overs or recall Graeme Swann in place of Dimitri Mascarenhas.
New Zealand (probable) Jesse Ryder, Brendon McCullum (wk), Jamie How, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Daniel Flynn, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori (capt), Kyle Mills, Jeetan Patel, Chris Martin
England (probable) Alastair Cook, Phil Mustard (wk), Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Owais Shah, Luke Wright, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom, James Anderson