England set 350 to level series

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Published: Wednesday 17th June 2015 by The News Editor

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The prolific Kane Williamson, and brutal late hitting from Grant Elliott and Mitchell Santner, set England a national-record run chase to avoid Royal London Series defeat.

Williamson (90) passed 3,000 one-day international runs and once again combined to great effect with Ross Taylor as half-centuries too from Martin Guptill (53) and Elliott (55no) helped New Zealand to 349 for seven at Trent Bridge.

England’s lowest total in the series to date is 302 all out, but they have won just the first match and trailed 2-1 with two to play.

After Brendon McCullum chose to bat on a quick pitch under cloud cover here, it was Williamson who did most to ensure the hosts must continue their sequence of 300-plus totals if they are to have any chance of prevailing in this first series since they committed to a new attacking brief after last winter’s World Cup embarrassment.

McCullum has yet to hurt England with the bat this past week, and once again he went short of 50.

England let slip several half-chances, and one more clear-cut. But none was especially costly, McCullum escaping when Jos Buttler could not hold an inside edge off Mark Wood only to go caught-behind anyway in the same bowler’s next over to end an opening stand of 88.

Then after Guptill (53) was put down low at midwicket on 46 off Ben Stokes, the normally very safe Joe Root an unlikely culprit, he too was soon gone.

Again, it was the same bowler who got his reward with a slower ball, but Steven Finn chiefly responsible with a brilliant outfield catch – running 40 yards from mid-on to deep midwicket to hold a skier at full stretch.

That meant another chance for Williamson and Taylor to add to their prolific gains together already in the series, and they duly took their aggregate for the third wicket past 450.

They had just brought up their third successive century stand when, from the third delivery in powerplay, Taylor (42) missed a mow across a full ball from Finn and was lbw.

Williamson then found mid-on off David Willey, having hit 12 fours and a six off 70 balls.

But Elliott’s 45-ball 50, and then Santner’s 44 off 19 balls – including four leg-side sixes in one Adil Rashid over – meant the England fightback was short-lived.

Published: Wednesday 17th June 2015 by The News Editor

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