Jonny Bairstow continued his imperious form with the fastest century by an England opener to seal a sixth successive one-day international series win with a seven-wicket trouncing of New Zealand.
Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid shared six wickets to restrict the hosts to an under-par 223 all out after Eoin Morgan won the toss in his 200th ODI.
Then Bairstow (104) hit six sixes and nine fours in his 58-ball century, the third-fastest by any Englishman, as his opening stand of 155 with Alex Hales (61) made memorably short work of New Zealand in this showdown decider which fell flat for most of a sell-out crowd at Hagley Oval.
Bairstow irresistible at the top of the order
It took Bairstow six years to establish himself as a one-day international opener, but he has certainly made up for the slow start. Since he replaced a then out-of-form Jason Roy in last year’s Champions Trophy semi-final defeat to Pakistan in Cardiff, he averages 63.41 in 15 matches. His back-to-back centuries over the past four days have been a joy to watch.
Tweet of the day
“Good luck @JasonRoy20 and @_TC59 – big game coming up tonight” – Surrey Cricket omitted to check England’s last-minute team news.
What a catch!
Bairstow prefaced his brilliance with the bat with an astonishing moment on the midwicket boundary. Two balls after Hales had taken a blinder on the opposite fence as England finally dismissed Mitchell Santner, the Yorkshireman had the sell-out crowd gasping when he pulled off a one-handed take low to the ground at full stretch to intercept Tim Southee’s big hit off Woakes.
Stat of the day
108 – Santner’s average, from number eight no less, after England finally dismissed him in the 49th over here. Their only previous success against the left-hander had been a run-out from Chris Woakes’ deflection at the non-striker’s end. Santner still did not top the hosts’ series averages, though – with Ross Taylor out in front on 152 after his two match-winning hundreds in three innings.
A two-Test series, starting against the pink ball in Auckland, to conclude England’s marathon winter – with a week-long stop-off in Hamilton to warm up first.