sport

Record stand earns England win

Alex Hales and Michael Lumb's record opening stand carried England to a 10-wicket win over New Zealand to clinch the Twenty20 series 2-1.

Captain Stuart Broad led from the front as impressive bowling and fielding set up England's success at the Westpac Stadium.

But it was Hales (80no) and Lumb (53no) who finished the job in exhilarating style, and with an astounding 7.2 overs to spare. Only Martin Guptill (59) stayed long enough to provide substance to the hosts' 139 for eight, after England had chosen to bowl first.

Then once Hales and Lumb got England's reply off to a rapid start - 57 in five overs - the remainder was a foregone conclusion.

The openers hit the ball supremely, nine times for six between them in a stand of 143 which made a mockery of England's target and in the process beat the nation's previous record opening stand of 128.

Much of the hardest work had been done by the tourists' bowlers nonetheless.

On a pitch of decent carry, captain Broad (three for 15) and his fellow seamer Steven Finn set the tone with economical new-ball spells.

Guptill's run-a-ball half-century featured just two fours and much scurrying, with a slow outfield at this rugby stadium, but the opener's biggest problem was a lack of lasting support.

There was no need for any support for Hales and Lumb, of course - especially after sloppy New Zealand fielding set them up.

Ross Taylor, at slip off Ian Butler, and then wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum running to square-leg off a mistimed pull at Mitchell McClenaghan, dropped Hales on six and then 11.

They were mistakes the hosts could not afford, in defence of such a vulnerable total.

Lumb had already crunched McClenaghan for successive sixes at the start of the third over, to long-off and midwicket, and Hales was soon matching his partner blow for blow.

He powered past his 35-ball 50, and England's hundred, with a second six in a McClenaghan over which cost 23 runs.

It was Lumb who finished the match in the most appropriate fashion, with his fifth six - over square-leg off Butler - to complete his 50 from just 34 balls. Conventional pace had earlier helped Broad and Finn restrict New Zealand to just 20 for one in the first five overs.

Broad got the wicket, Hamish Rutherford mis-hooking straight to short fine-leg.

But a double-change to Jade Dernbach and Luke Wright then saw an immediate spike in the scoring rate.

James Tredwell also took some early punishment, but hit back in his second over when McCullum got underneath a slog-sweep and was well-caught by Jonny Bairstow at deep midwicket.

New Zealand's second danger man was to fall to off-spin too.

Taylor hit Joe Root for the first six of the match over wide long-on, but it was to be his only scoring shot.

From round the wicket, the young Yorkshireman made the batsman fetch the next ball a little further and he too was held by Root's club-and-country team-mate Bairstow in the leg-side deep.

Grant Elliott then glided an upper-cut at Jade Dernbach (three for 36) straight into the hands of third-man.

Before the hundred was up the returning Broad took England's fifth wicket in the 16th over - another mis-hook, Colin Munro this time caught at point.

Guptill at least stayed the course, but no-one could quite provide the late impetus to the innings which had served New Zealand so well in their series-levelling victory in Hamilton three days ago.

One slip in the outfield by Lumb and Finn's failure to hold a tough chance at mid-off to see off James Franklin in the penultimate over were the only minor blemishes, and Broad helped to close out a polished performance when another short ball did the trick to see off Guptill caught-and-bowled.

The tourists had lurched to extremes in their previous two matches, dominating the first but outplayed in the second.

They were back to their best today, and can therefore head for the one-day international series - starting on Sunday in Hamilton - on a high.