Player of the Match
Player of the Match

All eyes on Taylor ahead of series decider

Big Picture

So here we are again. These two teams locked at 2-2 going into the final match of the series. Few would have predicted that when New Zealand's score also read 2-2 in Dunedin chasing 336, but then Ross Taylor played one of the great one-day innings.

Whether he can haul himself through the deciding match with an injured thigh could be one of the decisive factors. Such is the importance of Taylor and Kane Williamson to New Zealand's cause that losing one leaves them with a hole they struggle to cover. As Mike Hesson said before Dunedin: "We've got some exciting talent, the likes of Mark Chapman, but at the moment they're not Ross Taylor." Few players in the world are Taylor in ODI cricket at the moment.

Taylor went through a fitness test on the Hagley Oval outfield on Friday and did not look too hindered in his movements but it will need to be factored in that this is a much larger playing area - fielding and running between the wickets will take more out of him.

As in Dunedin, New Zealand have an excellent record here having won eight out of eight ODIs.

England have been keen to move on from their collapse in the last match, although Trevor Bayliss did say it had been addressed in the aftermath of the defeat. They are aiming for six consecutive series wins. Having been 2-1 one up and in such a strong position in Dunedin, it would certainly feel like one that slipped away if the honours go to New Zealand.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand WLLWW
England LWWLW

In the spotlight

Ish Sodhi's performances have gone a little under the radar this series, overshadowed each time by tight finishes in Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin. He is the leading wicket-taker in the series, with nine scalps at 19.33, having seemingly been behind Todd Astle before it started. However, New Zealand banked on the specialist bowler rather than the allrounder and it has paid off. He hasn't been cowered by England's strokeplay and that was especially evident at University Oval where he helped turned the game with a career-best 4 for 58. He has some larger boundaries to work with at Hagley Oval.

Jason Roy started England's current run of ODIs in style. He could do with ending it that way. It seems odd to suggest that the man with his country's highest score is under pressure, but he hasn't built on his 180 against Australia in Melbourne. It is also worth noting the man he took the record off, Alex Hales, is currently out of the side. Roy has made three scores in the 40s since then and will have been particularly livid to miss out on a bigger score in Dunedin. If he fails to produce a major innings in Christchurch it will leave room for debate until England next play ODIs in June.

Teams news

Taylor's leg is getting plenty of interest. If he doesn't pull up well enough in the morning, Mark Chapman would return to the side.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Colin Munro, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham (wk), 6 Henry Nicholls, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Ish Sodhi, 11 Trent Boult

Mark Wood has not had a huge impact since returning to the side and went for 65 in eight overs in Dunedin. David Willey could be an option for a recall.

England (probable) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Tom Curran, 11 Mark Wood

Pitch and conditions

Hagley Oval has a large playing area by New Zealand standards so running between the wickets could be as important as boundary-hitting. The pitch is generally true for ODIs. After some rain on Friday, the forecast is set fair although the high will only hit about 17 degrees.

Stats and trivia

  • Eoin Morgan will play his 200th ODI - 23 for Ireland and 177 for England

  • Ross Taylor is now one century short of becoming the 13th player to score 20 in ODIs

  • Hagley Oval has the second-highest run rate of New Zealand's regular grounds


"We are a fast learning team. You don't put a string of results together like we have before and change the way we play so quickly if you're not fast learners and fast adapters."
Jonny Bairstow on England bouncing back

Both sides have been playing good cricket in recent times and for it to come down to the final day with a sell-out crowd will be pretty cool. Hopefully we can adapt, start well and keep the ball rolling.
Tom Latham

England 2nd innings Partnerships

1st155AD HalesJM Bairstow
2nd22AD HalesJE Root
3rd15EJG MorganJE Root
4th37JE RootBA Stokes