England take series lead despite Williamson century

  • England take series lead despite Williamson century

England take series lead despite Williamson century

Yet there was to be another twist to the tale when Williamson added 96 with Mitchell Santner, controversially reprived on nought when a "catch" was adjudicated not to have carried to Jason Roy, to take New Zealand to the brink.

Santner was then unluckily run out for 41 when Woakes got his hand to a straight drive from Williamson and deflected the ball back onto the stumps, leaving the all-rounder stranded and New Zealand at 199 for seven with 4.4 overs remaining. In the end, it was just a little too much for Williamson as 5 were needed off the final delivery.

Needing 235 to take a 2-1 lead in the series, New Zealand finished on 230 for eight; seamer Chris Woakes producing a dot ball off the final ball when Williamson needed six to win the match.

The ugly Westpac Stadium, known locally as the Cake Tin because of its bland, round design, had provided an equally unattractive drop-in pitch that saw England severely tested in battling to a just about par 234 all out.

Having brought up his eleventh ODI century off the first ball of the penultimate over with a four off Tom Curran (0-49), the Surrey right-armer showed good composure to respond well and give away only three more singles from his over.

From then on it was a challenge to eke out the runs on a pitch which had erratic pace and bounce, sometimes puffing up dust or grass clippings, other deliveries ripping up chunks of turf.

Moeen has endured a miserable winter with the ball and it looked likely to continue when his first ball was a juicy full toss - which Williamson gratefully whacked into the stand.

Captain Morgan, figuring out the difficulties early, set his sights on a lengthy stay and see how things would play out. Excluding Sodhi, Boult took two wickets and Southee and Grandhomme took one wicket each.

Whereas victory in the second ODI in Tauranga was an all-round demolition of the Black Caps, this was a streetwise and intelligent adaptation in tricky conditions, even if they were nearly denied by the brilliant Williamson.

Allrounder Stokes, who invariably scores at a rapid clip, was all over the place. His unbroken spell of 10-1-24-1 was outstanding, doing enough to keep the batsmen watchful.

Even then, Williamson nearly stole it in the final over which started with 15 needed and a six over square leg off Woakes made it 7 off 3 - after the match the New Zealand captain said he felt it was within his grasp - before Woakes went full and straight to close it out. Once he departed, the hosts collapsed from 80 for 2 to be 103 for 6 as Moeen and Adil Rashid shared five wickets between them.

Game four is in Dunedin on Wednesday.