Ross Taylor slammed his second successive hundred to power New Zealand to a challenging 303 for five against India in the fifth and final one-day international here Friday.
At Westpac Stadium, Taylor (102) put on 152 runs for the third wicket with Kane Williamson (88), who scored his fifth consecutive half-century, after New Zealand were 41-2 in the 13th over at one stage.
Taylor’s 106-ball innings was studded with 10 hits to the fence and one six, while Williamson blasted eight fours and one six in his 91-ball innings here.
For India, Varun Aaron (2-60) was the most successful bowler, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-48) and Mohammad Shami (1-61) provided decent support. Virat Kohli took the only other wicket to fall, while the spinners, R Ashwin (0-37) and Ravindra Jadeja (0-54) went wicket-less.
Earlier, Indian skipper MS Dhoni won the toss for a fifth consecutive time and opted to bowl first, reverting to his original strategy deployed in the first three matches.
Unlike the previous three occasions, the Indian bowling started off well this time around. There was a little cloud cover at the beginning of the New Zealand innings as Kumar and Shami made good use of the conditions to keep a tight leash on the openers. The latter started off with two maiden overs, as only ten runs came in the first five overs.
Jesse Ryder (17) tried to break the shackles but doing so gave away his wicket in the 8th over, with Ajinkya Rahane at gully holding on after on a second attempt.
Only 31 runs came in the first ten overs, with Martin Guptill (16 runs, 35 balls, two fours) falling soon after, caught by Shami off Varun Aaron in the 13th over. The bowler heaved a sigh of relief as he had earlier dropped Guptill when he was on 9.
There wasn’t any let up though as Williamson and Taylor once again put the Indian bowling to the sword in the middle overs and shared 152 runs off 151 balls to set the foundation of a big score.
After the two were dismissed, young James Neesham provided the late charge, scoring 34 off 19 balls with the help of three fours and two sixes to take New Zealand across the 300-mark. PTI