New Zealand v England, 2nd ODI: Joe Root and James Anderson shine in eight-wicket win in Napier
By Joe Drabble - Twitter: @SkySportsDrabs. Last Updated: 20/02/13 9:43am
England set up a winner-takes-all decider in Auckland after cruising to an eight-wicket victory over New Zealand in the second ODI on Wednesday.
Set a challenging 270 for victory in Napier after Ross Taylor's century and an explosive innings of 74 from Brendon McCullum, England produced a commanding batting display to reach their target with 14 balls to spare.
Joe Root continued his eye-catching start to international cricket with a top-scoring 79 not out, sharing an unbroken 121-run partnership with Jonathan Trott (65no) to see England home.
Captain Alastair Cook, who made 78 at the top of the order, will now look to lead his side to victory in the final match of the series at Eden Park on Saturday.
England had earlier endured a brutal onslaught from Taylor and Brendon McCullum, but kept in touch thanks to James Anderson's second ODI five-wicket haul at McLean Park.
"That was ruthless and clinical. The bowlers set it up really. New Zealand were 20-30 runs light and England did it at a canter thanks to Joe Root, who continues to impress. He seems to take every opportunity. England looked really strong tonight."
Taylor (100), in his first significant innings since his controversial sacking as New Zealand captain last year, rejoined forces with his successor McCullum - to England's dismay, in a century fifth-wicket stand which lasted just 53 balls.
McCullum, batting at No.6, crashed nine fours and four sixes in his destructive late cameo after Taylor had laid the platform with a composed 117-ball innings.
England's swing king Anderson had put the tourists in early control with the wickets of Black Caps openers BJ Watling and Hamish Rutherford and added Taylor, Nathan McCullum and Trent Boult to his victims list to finish with 5-34.
England could have been forgiven for retreating to the changing rooms with their heads down after Brendon McCullum's late blitz, however captain Cook swiftly raised spirits with a fluent half-century.
The Essex left-hander shared a 89-run opening stand with Ian Bell before the latter fell to the innocuous off-spin of Kane Williamson for 44.
Cook eased past 50, launching Nathan McCullum for a huge six in the process, and it came as a major surprise when he softly chipped a return catch to Tim Southee when seemingly destined for a century.
At 149-2 in the 32nd over the outcome of the match remained in the balance, however Trott - who eased to his 20th ODI half-century - and Root took the game away from New Zealand with consummate ease.
Yorkshireman Root became the first player ever to score more than 30 in his first six ODIs and fittingly hit the winning runs in the 48th over to finish as England's top-scorer.