England all out for 302

Published: Sunday 14th June 2015 by The News Editor

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England kept swinging, for their third successive total of more than 300, but were bowled out with almost five overs unused against New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl.

Half-centuries from Joe Root (54), Eoin Morgan (68) – the captain’s third on the trot – and Ben Stokes (71) gave England substance with 302 all out.

But after they lost their last five wickets for 14 runs, it was hard to avoid the suspicion that spurning such a significant slice of overs resources would cost them – with a 2-1 Royal London Series lead the reward here to the winning team.

Batting was a slightly hazardous pursuit initially, albeit one Morgan had opted for under cloud cover.

The swinging ball was a test for openers Jason Roy and Alex Hales – even with the injured Trent Boult out of match and series.

Ultimately, they did not pass it.

Hales edged debutant Ben Wheeler (three for 63) to second slip, off the back foot, and then without addition Roy missed an unsightly drive to be bowled by Tim Southee (three for 44).

Root and Morgan put on a breezy century stand, revisiting to an extent their performance which set the tone for this series at Edgbaston six days ago.

But Root went unluckily, bowled off his pads after advancing to Mitchell Santner.

Then Morgan, who had fortune on his side on several occasions, could not cash in a century and was bowled, sweeping at Kane Williamson.

England nonetheless appeared to have the perfect platform at 194 for four, with 17 overs remaining and – for New Zealand – the alarming sight of Jos Buttler walking in to join Stokes.

Buttler was to be just a bit-part player this time, edging a wide one from Southee behind.

Stokes was in full flow, though, and soon Sam Billings too.

At his third attempt, the Kent batsman proved himself no impostor in England’s brave new world.

His 34 off 16 balls, in a stand of 61 off 34, was as contemporary at you can get with a series of ramps overs his left shoulder among his six fours.

But it did not prove sustainable – and after he was caught at short third-man, Adil Rashid steered a catch to point first ball and Stokes was bowled heaving at Wheeler’s last delivery, England had only two wickets left for the last six overs.

They were soon gone too, and the only consolation on another good surface was that the Kiwis would still need more than six-an-over to prevail.

Published: Sunday 14th June 2015 by The News Editor

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