Williamson: Middle-order wickets cost New Zealand

Posted March 12, 2018

The hard-hitting Aucklander has proven a success opening at global level in Twenty20s, but there are question marks about his ability to balance the tempo of an ODI innings and poor decision making. The complete tournament was hosted in New Zealand where team England was the guest. Martin Guptill was the only batsman in the top five to provide any resistance with 47, before Nicholls and Santner ensured New Zealand had a total to bowl at but it was never going to be enough against the powerful England batting lineup.

However, Bairstow credited England's bowlers for the series-clinching victory.

But that's not the way England saw it as they displayed from the start how they had worked out the New Zealand batsmen.

They are less than 15 months from the start of the World Cup in England, but Hesson may need to keep experimenting with their optimum line-up next summer. It's something that is still a work in progress and will hopefully continue to be for a long time.

Tim Southee didn't have a great series with the ball against England, taking two wickets at an average of 128. In the end, it was Ben Stokes who finished with a couple of enormous sixes off Ish Sodhi and stamped England's authority on what was a thoroughly competitive series barring the last game.

Hesson said Munro firmly remained part of their ODI plans, but needed to be smarter about the way he approached an innings.

"Following that was always hard to do, but I think we did that". Colin is a very destructive player.

Indeed, this was the fastest ODI century by an England opener and overall only Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali have got their quicker for their country in one-day cricket than the Yorkshireman, who accelerated from 50 to 100 in just 20 balls.

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Former New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney on Test Match Special: "New Zealand's middle order looked to me as though they didn't know how to defend spin bowling, let alone attack it. Chapman's dismissal was terrible".

From the outset in Christchurch, though, they made no mistake.

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.

Earlier, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root scored 138 and 102 for England before a four-wicket haul from Ish Sodhi pegged the visitors back.

Mitchell Santner, much maligned in some quarters, was a revelation with the bat and quietened many of his critics.

With Grant Elliot's retirement, Luke Ronchi's inconsistency and Corey Anderson's hit-miss form, New Zealand had plenty to look after as far as ODI cricket goes.

Tom Latham, who was under pressure leading into the series, has locked down his spot long-term with contributions of 71 and 79, combined with match-winning partnerships with Taylor.

The final match of the series is in Christchurch on Saturday.

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