England batsman Jonathan Trott plays a shot watched by New
Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum during their one-day
international match at McLean Park in Napier. REUTERS/Nigel
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is relishing the
prospect of the ODI series decider at Eden Park on Saturday.
The hosts lost the initiative in the three-game series when
they were well beaten by eight wickets by England at McLean
Park last night.
New Zealand didn't get enough runs, and were bowled out in
the penultimate over for 269 on a cracking batting pitch.
England, with half-centuries from captain Alastair Cook,
Jonathan Trott and Joe Root cruised to victory with 14 balls
''Not enough runs and also we weren't able to get any
sustained period of pressure, which brought wickets,"
McCullum said of New Zealand's shortcomings in Napier.
''Par was probably 290, and we did okay to get to 270. It was
a very defendable total, but you needed things to go your way
on a very good wicket."
That said, Eden Park ''should be amazing. It's set up
beautifully and the way the series has gone - win one, lose
one, win one -- it would be quite nice to lift the trophy."
McCullum is seeing the ball like a pumpkin and blazed 74 in
just 36 balls to pull New Zealand up to a respectable total
with the man he replaced as national captain Ross Taylor.
The pair laced the England attack, putting on 100 in only 54
balls for the fifth wicket, Taylor finding his form after a
lowkey return to the team, hitting his seventh ODI ton, 100
off 117 balls.
However, the lower order failed to fire, and the last six
wickets went down for just 26 runs in 25 balls.
It could have been a seriously challenging target of about
300; instead England, batting sensibly - and in 22-year-old
Root's case, 79 not out off 56 balls, with plenty of panache
- did a thoroughly professional job.
McCullum never doubted Taylor would regain his touch.
''I'm really pleased he managed to get a score. I thought he
played really smart through the innings.
''We all knew Ross would get runs at some point. He's a high
class player. It certainly wasn't a matter of hoping he was
going to get runs; it was a matter of when it was going to
England's leading bowler, Jimmy Anderson, took five for 34
and his work with Steven Finn in the first 12 overs of New
Zealand's innings was highly impressive. It put New Zealand
on the back foot and, even allowing for McCullum and Taylor's
efforts, England always held the whip hand from that point.
Cook reckoned it the best opening 12 overs he'd could
remember. He was delighted the way his team bounced back from
defeat in the series opener in Hamilton last weekend.
McCullum has been a challenge for England's bowlers and Cook
spoke highly of his contribution.
''He's a very dangerous player, no doubt about that," Cook
''He hits the ball, not in strange places, but very long and
no ground is really big enough for him."
That said, Cook felt England had bowled better to McCullum
last night than when he made his match-winning 69 at
''He was hitting the ball in areas he wasn't quite so
comfortable hitting. Fair play to him, it was a great little
knock and he got them up to a defendable total."
- David Leggat