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England cruise to series-levelling victory

Eoin Morgan's men put in a superb all-round performance to secure a six-wicket win and level the series at 1-1

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Eoin Morgan and Co. put in a superb fielding performance to set up a series-levelling victory at Mount Maunganui.

There were four run-outs as New Zealand were 223 all out before half-centuries from Morgan himself and Ben Stokes made sure the tourists’ chase was completed comfortably.

After the defeat in the first ODI, Jos Buttler had commented on England’s need to up their game in the field.

“I think we were a little bit sloppy for our standards … That’s an area we need to improve,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

And improve they did. There were four run-outs and every chance in the field was confidently taken.

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After Colin Munro was caught behind off a poor waft, Mark Chapman - in for the injured Kane Williamson - fell to a fine effort from David Willey who had to take a catch on the run with the white orb swirling high over his shoulder. The Yorkshire allrounder then superbly ran out Ross Taylor, who had hit his 18th ODI hundred three days earlier.

Jason Roy was next to serve up a fielding masterclass double. Martin Guptill looked in good touch for his 34th ODI fifty but when he looked to sweep Moeen Ali into the stands it went hard and flat to Roy who took a smart low catch on the midwicket boundary.

Five deliveries later, it was right place for Roy once more as Henry Nicholls flashed a cut off Stokes which the England opener, fully airborne, took cleanly high to his right.

Tom Curran made no mistake at short third man to catch Tom Latham off the bowling of Moeen before the run-out procession really got going.

Colin de Grandhomme - who was threatening to kick on (38 from 40) - and Tim Southee both fell running between the wickets.

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Stokes picked up his second wicket of the day to remove Lockie Ferguson before effecting his second run-out (Trent Boult) of the piece to end the innings.

Amidst the fielding clinic and running carnage, Mitchell Santner had carried on where he left off in Hamilton. A match-sealing 43 from 27 was  followed up by another impressive display with the bat at Bay Oval, finishing unbeaten on 63.

The hosts had been 108 for six after 30 overs and 147 for eight in the 38th, so to eventually reach 223 and only leave two balls unused was an impressive recovery from the tail.

It was never likely to be enough however, against an England team that has an embarrassingly long batting order and were hellbent on bouncing back and getting themselves level in the series.

Jason Roy and Joe Root fell in single figures and Jonny Bairstow (37) couldn’t notch a 7th ODI fifty, but the captain, Stokes and Jos Buttler saw England home at a canter.

Stokes has slotted seamlessly back into the XI, back into international cricket. Wickets, run outs, runs. Ben is back.

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