sport

Root shines in England win

Five wickets from James Anderson and Joe Root's career-best unbeaten 79 helped England ease to an eight-wicket victory over New Zealand.

There was just one anxious passage of play for the tourists in Napier when Ross Taylor (100) and Brendon McCullum (74) were transforming a previously ponderous home innings with a century stand in only 53 balls.

But Anderson, who had taken two new-ball wickets to augment his all-time England tally of 529 in international cricket, returned to finish with five for 23 as New Zealand lost their last six for 26 runs.

A resulting 269 all out, after Alastair Cook had put them in, appeared vulnerable at this venue associated with high ODI totals.

So it proved as Cook (78), Root and Jonathan Trott (65no) all passed 50 to get the job done with eight wickets and more than two overs to spare to level up the three-match series at 1-1.

Taylor, in his first significant innings since his controversial sacking as captain last year, had earlier rejoined forces with his successor McCullum to devastating effect.

England's discomfort ended, though, when McCullum holed out to long-on off Stuart Broad to provide telling respite after his blitz of nine fours and four sixes off 36 deliveries.

The more sedate statistics of Taylor's 116-ball seventh ODI hundred were evidence of necessary early caution in his fifth innings since returning to international cricket.

He still managed nine fours and his team's first six, and earned a standing ovation when he was finally ninth out - caught behind off Anderson in the penultimate over.

The barrage of sixes and boundaries at the start of the last 10 overs was a startling contrast to the early part of New Zealand's innings, in which Anderson and Steven Finn exerted an iron grip.

Finn demonstrated the merit of his new shortened run-up by cranking up the pace to above 90mph, but it was Anderson who was soon adding to his tally again.

BJ Watling - Anderson's solitary, milestone victim in England's defeat in Hamilton - succumbed once more, undone by away movement and edging low to Cook at slip.

Anderson doubled up with the wicket of ODI debutant Hamish Rutherford, whose scoring options were so squeezed as to make him obvious prey to any of the fast bowler's variations.

He duly mistimed haplessly into the hands of Cook, who had purposely positioned himself at short extra-cover.

A double-change, to Chris Woakes (three for 68) and Broad, released the stranglehold as Taylor began to find his range.

Kane Williamson and Taylor added 72 to give New Zealand a foothold in the match. But Woakes had Williamson chopping on to his stumps as he aimed to fetch the ball from outside off to leg.

Grant Elliott kept Taylor company in another half-century stand, only to mis-hook the deserving Finn to long-leg in the first over of a batting powerplay which yielded 26 runs.

That was a favourable outcome for England, but what followed in the next two overs was not as Taylor and McCullum signalled their intent.

Graeme Swann's final over cost 17, and then Woakes' next 21 - thanks almost entirely to McCullum, who hit the last four balls for 6-4-4-4.

There was no hiding place for England until McCullum went, and hastened a collapse around Taylor as others tried and failed to match what had gone before.

The anti-climax suggested England had sound prospects of a successful chase - and after Cook and Ian Bell's 89-run opening stand in 20 overs, that impression was still intact.

Bell had mixed good with bad, assured timing interspersed with air shots as the new ball swung for New Zealand's pace bowlers.

But it was a switch to the spinners which brought the hosts a breakthrough, Bell getting underneath a sweep at Williamson to be caught on the square-leg boundary.

Cook still appeared to be carrying the game, as he and Trott put on another 60. But the captain could not convert a 67-ball 50 into three figures, tamely chipping a full toss straight back to Tim Southee.

Trott and Root found boundaries hard to come by initially but placed the ball and scurried well in an unbroken century partnership which always kept the equation in England's favour - all the more so after the young Yorkshireman was badly dropped on 25 by McCullum racing back to a mishook off Trent Boult when 75 were still needed at seven-an-over.

Root then kicked on as required past his half-century in just 38 balls, allowing Trott to remain in his accustomed anchor role.