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Taylor century propels New Zealand to series-opening victory

A 178-run partnership between Ross Taylor and Tom Latham secured victory for the hosts in the first ODI at Hamilton

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A disciplined effort by the Blackcaps’ bowling unit and a 178-run partnership between Ross Taylor (113) and Tom Latham (79) secured the hosts victory in the first ODI at Hamilton.

Half-centuries from Joe Root and Jos Buttler saw England post a competitive if not overwhelming total of 285 on a slowish Seddon Park track, but Taylor and Co. bundled home with four balls to spare.

Chris Woakes and David Willey started brightly with the ball, removing the top three of Martin Guptill, Colin Munro and skipper Kane Williamson for just 23, but a supreme fourth-wicket stand turned the match on its head.

Coming into the series, Latham had stated: “I feel like it's just a matter of time before a big score comes.”

The wicket-keeper batsman didn’t leave it long to register it, 79 his contribution to the partnership with Taylor.

It was a measured innings that rescued his team from three down but when he finally fell - to the returning Ben Stokes - his wicket sparked a miniature collapse that threatened to undo the hard work of that fourth-wicket stand.

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Taylor and Latham's stand broke the back of the chase

Henry Nicholls and Colin de Grandhomme fell cheaply as England forced a close finish but Taylor’s century and Mitchell Santner’s cameo saw the home team across the line.

Earlier in the piece New Zealand’s bowlers had managed to keep England’s batsman in check. 

Joe Root made an effortless fifty but couldn’t go on to reach three figures while Jos Buttler’s 79 helped England to a competitive total.

The wicketkeeper-batsman showed he can change down, as well us up through the gears. The innings was not dissimilar to his knock against Kane Williamson’s men at Cardiff in last year’s Champions Trophy.

Ultimately England needed an over or two more of Jos with Trent Boult and Tim Southee bowling with real nous to keep him in check toward the back end of the innings.

The victory makes it nine straight in ODIs for the Blackcaps and the closeness of the contest promises great things for the rest of the series.

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