Dunedin (New Zealand) (AFP) – Centuries by Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root helped England set New Zealand a challenging total of 336 in the fourth one-day international in Dunedin Wednesday.
England finished on 335 for nine after losing the toss and being put into bat as Bairstow blazed his way to 138 off 106 balls and Root grafted out a hard-fought 102.
The tourists’ total should have been even bigger, but a dramatic late collapse put the brakes on their scoring as spinner Ish Sodhi led a stirring New Zealand fightback.
England were 267 for 1 in the 38th over when Bairstow’s dismissal sparked the loss of six wickets for 21 runs.
At one point England appeared unlikely to see out their 50 overs before a late cameo of 22 off 10 balls from Tom Curran.
Sodhi finished with four for 58, while Colin Munro and Trent Boult took two wickets apiece.
Bairstow and fellow opener Jason Roy laid the foundation for England with a 77-run partnership before Roy departed on 41.
He then combined with Root for a 190-run partnership as New Zealand’s pacemen struggled to find any movement.
England passed the 100 mark in the 16th over, with Bairstow smashing the ball onto the roof of the stands on his way to a 38-ball 50.
He had a life on 74 when Mitchell Santner dropped a regulation catch at cover and went on to score his third ODI century with a four swept to the boundary.
Bairstow amassed 14 fours and seven sixes before his innings finally ended after he tried to hit Munro out of the park.
It sparked a collapse as Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes all departed without making double figures.
Root toiled at the other end as partners came and went, bringing up his 11th ODI century off 99 balls, with six fours and two sixes.
Curran’s late hit-out provided a welcome boost to the scoreline but also showed New Zealand’s batsmen that runs are there for the taking as they chase 336.
England lead the five-match series 2-1.