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Bairstow, Root hundreds but England suffer collapse

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England 335 for 9 (Bairstow 138, Root 102, Sodhi 4-58) v New Zealand
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England suffered a startling batting meltdown as New Zealand hauled themselves back into the fourth ODI in Dunedin after a powerful century from Jonny Bairstow. Joe Root also reached three figures, his first in any international since last August, but that was completed in the shadow of an England collapse of 8 for 46 with Ish Sodhi taking a career-best 4 for 58, although a final total of 335 for 9 was still imposing.

After having to dig in and battle to a competitive score in Wellington, for much of the innings this was England reverting to type as Bairstow and Root added 190 in 27 overs. However, that was followed by a significant reversal and after the top three, the next batsmen to reach double figures was Adil Rashid and Tom Curran. From 267 for 1, England were left with the barely believable scenario of the last-wicket pair trying to see out the 50 overs – Curran took 18 off the final over – but their eventual tally was still the second-highest total at the ground.

Bairstow, who was dropped on 74, and Root had taken charge with their dominant second-wicket stand as England’s top order hit top gear for the first time since the opening ODI against Australia in Melbourne. Bairstow had not converted a number of starts over the last two series, following his successful promotion to opener last year, but here skipped to his third ODI century off 86 deliveries. Such was the turnaround in the innings, by the time Root reached his hundred from 99 balls England were seven down.

New Zealand had hoped for some early assistance after winning the toss – the pitch had been covered for the last two days – but on a beautifully sunny day it quickly became apparent it was the best surface of the series for strokeplay. There was a touch of movement with the new ball, but the lines of Tim Southee and Trent Boult were a little erratic while New Zealand were uncharacteristically poor in the field.

The captain, Kane Williamson, fumbled at mid-off in the opening over which appeared to set the tone. Mitchell Santner dived over one at cover to concede a boundary and then a wild throw from Tom Latham gifted four overthrows to Bairstow.

There was also some thunderous strokeplay as Bairstow and Jason Roy timed sweetly. Roy picked up sixes off Boult and Southee – a pull and a loft down the ground – and after the 10-over Powerplay England had skipped to 77 without loss.

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Sodhi broke through with his second delivery when Roy couldn’t quite keep a sweep down and Santner did well to dive forward at short fine leg. It went to the TV umpire for checking, but was so clear that even foreshortening didn’t create an issue. Sodhi completed his first over as a maiden – it was a rare moment of calm for New Zealand in the first 37 overs.

After briefly assessing there was little on offer for the spinners, Bairstow and Root kicked on. Bairstow twice sent Sodhi down the ground – the first measured at over 100 metres by TV – and also did the same to Santner, who then gave Bairstow his life at cover.

Either side of the second drinks break, things went up another level. Root went to his fifty by launching Southee over long-on then gave a masterclass in toying with spin, taking Sodhi for three boundaries to different corners of the ground: a delicate glide through backward point, a powerful sweep and a pull.

But just as thoughts were turning towards Bairstow challenging Roy’s 180 as England highest score in ODIs – and England pushing the 400-mark again – New Zealand hit back. Bairstow miscued Colin Munro into the off side and Jos Buttler’s promotion to No. 4 lasted two balls when he chipped a catch back to Sodhi.

There was no thought of momentary consolidation with Eoin Morgan hoisting Boult into the leg side. New Zealand’s fielding suddenly went up a notch with Munro taking an excellent catch running back. Ben Stokes then picked out deep square leg and Moeen Ali lofted down the ground where Southee made excellent ground running in to take the ball by his bootlaces. When Chris Woakes chipped Munro to long-on, Root was in danger of running out of partners.

Root and Rashid nursed England over 300 but there was no stopping the collapse. Root feathered a pull to the keeper off Southee and Rashid was yorked by Boult as New Zealand looked like bowling England out before Curran provided a late boost. Now it’s over to New Zealand’s batsmen to keep them in this series.

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