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10-Mar-2018 05:04:00 GMT
NZ v Eng, 5th ODI, Christchurch

Bairstow powers England to series victory

Christchurch: Jonny Bairstow's superb 104 helps England beat New Zealand by seven wickets in Christchurch and win the one-day series 3-2.

A dismal start cost New Zealand who, despite 67 from Mitchell Santner and 55 from Henry Nicholls, were bowled out for 223 in Christchurch.

Bairstow dominated the bowlers, smashing nine fours and six sixes as he thrashed a century from just 58 balls.

Alex Hales, replacing an injured Jason Roy, made 61 before Ben Stokes scored an unbeaten 26 to seal victory.

England, building towards the 2019 World Cup on home soil, have now won five successive ODI series.

Chris Woakes excelled with the ball for England, finishing with figures of 3-32 without conceding a boundary from his opening 10 overs, and his sharpness was backed up by the spinners.

Accurate with the ball and showing a controlled aggression with the bat, England look a settled one-day side and, as shown with Hales coming in for Roy after he suffered a back spasm, they have good depth available to them.

They looked assured in their pursuit of New Zealand's total and played smartly, led by Bairstow as he registered his second century of the series.

England now travel to Hamilton for a tour match beginning on 13 March, before the two-match Test series starts on 22 March.

Brief scores:
England 229 for 3 (Bairstow 104, Hales 61) beat New Zealand 223 (Santner 67, Nicholls 55, Woakes 3-32, Rashid 3-42) by seven wickets

Bairstow's performance in this series - he has scored 302 runs at an average of 60.40 - has surely settled his place at the top of the order, after seven years of playing in every position from one to six.

If England's bowlers were miserly, then Bairstow was the opposite. Taking on the senior role in the absence of Roy, he was aggressive and confident as he led the chase on a flat pitch.

He partnered well with Hales, the two taking sharp singles, before Bairstow began to cut loose. He cut and swept the spinners with regularity, reaching his half-century from 38 balls.

After achieving one milestone, Bairstow stepped up a gear. Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi was dispatched into the crowd for consecutive sixes as Bairstow smashed 22 from one over to near his century.

Pace from Trent Boult was pulled for four, while left-arm spin was swept for six. Bairstow reached three figures from 58 balls, moving from 50 to 100 in just 20 balls.

It was the fastest century by a England opener in one day cricket and the third fastest by any England player. It was almost a surprise when he fell, hitting his stumps as he attempted to cut Boult.

Hales, opening the batting for the first time since September, looked in good touch. He played a back seat to Bairstow and was left frustrated as he was caught at mid-wicket by Kane Williamson.

Eoin Morgan fell for 8 as he sent a long hop from Sodhi straight to Colin de Grandhomme on the boundary, but Joe Root's 23 and an entertaining 18-ball cameo from Stokes saw England home with 17.2 overs remaining.

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