sport

Cook hails blossoming Root

England captain Alastair Cook was full of admiration for the latest eye-catching innings in Joe Root's blossoming international career.

Root cracked a rapid 79 not out as England beat New Zealand by eight wickets in the second one-day international, in Napier, as the tourists tied the series and set up a decider in Auckland on Saturday.

Set a target of 270 by New Zealand, whose innings had come to life late on as Brendon McCullum cut loose to build on Ross Taylor's century, England never looked troubled.

And with Root, at the age of 22, in such fine form, it was left to the captain to commend the Yorkshire batsman.

"He's been excellent since he came in, he's a really good kid," Cook said on Sky Sports 1.

"He works really hard and he's got a lot of talent.

"He's got all the right things to make him a really good player.

"We need to keep his feet on the ground - you know what these Yorkshiremen are like - but he's done well."

James Anderson earlier made a terrific impact with the ball, returning figures of five for 34 as New Zealand were all out for 269.

"I'm delighted with the way I bowled and I think we bowled pretty well as a unit," Anderson said.

"We stuck at it and knew if we kept them under 300 we had a chance of chasing them down.

"The guys batted brilliantly and I'm delighted we could get the win."

Cook applauded the bowlers, who were only truly taken to task by New Zealand in the closing overs as McCullum, who clubbed 74 from 36 deliveries, proved punishing.

Cook said: "I thought the way we bowled up front was outstanding.

"Steven Finn and James Anderson really bowled well. We gave them nothing to get going, took some wickets, and put them under pressure.

"It was only a fantastic effort from Brendon McCullum that got them up to a decent score."

Cook made a patient 78 in laying the foundations for the innings in a first-wicket partnership of 89 with Ian Bell.

Bell departed for 44, with Cook then out with the team score on 149.

Jonathan Trott ended up playing a supporting role once Root came to the batting strip, with the incoming Yorkshireman cracking seven fours and two sixes in his fine innings.

Trott finished unbeaten on 65 from 73 balls after nudging and pushing the ball around the field without needing to play the expansive shots that Root provided.

England won with 14 balls to spare.

"We knew 270 was probably a little bit below par on that wicket," Cook said.

"We knew if we kept our heads batting and kept wickets in hand, as it proved it was quite an easy chase."

Home captain Brendon McCullum accepted New Zealand needed more runs on the board to put some doubt in England's mind.

"We were 20 runs under par," he said.

"I thought England's bowlers put us under a lot of pressure and with their batting they played brilliantly to knock off 270 fairly comfortably.

"Credit to them, I thought they bowled outstandingly, especially James Anderson."

The consolation for New Zealand came with the century from Taylor, but his effort and McCullum's big-hitting aside there was little to shout about for the hosts.

"I was really pleased for Ross," McCullum said after the batsman's ton.

"It's a shame it wasn't a match-winning one."