FIFTH ONE-DAY INTERNATIONAL, Lord's
New Zealand 266-5 (50 ovs) bt England 215 (47.5 ovs) by 51 runs
By Jamie Lillywhite
Styris played sensibly before unleashing some superb shots late on
Kevin Pietersen's first match as England captain ended in ignominious defeat as New Zealand took a 3-1 series victory with a 51-run win at Lord's.
The Kiwis were struggling at 71-3, but Scott Styris smashed three sixes in an unbeaten 87, sharing 77 with Jacob Oram as 61 came from the final five overs.
Chasing 267, England started well with an opening stand of 53 in 11 overs.
But Pietersen made just six and Daniel Vettori seized control with 3-32, only Owais Shah with 69 contributing.
The series that has witnessed switch hitting sixes, umpires abandoning play with only six balls left to bowl to get a result, run-outs after mid-pitch collisions and suspensions for slow over-rates could not produce one final act of drama.
Pietersen and the England hierarchy will be left wondering both how New Zealand were able to post such a competitive total and why their own innings petered out so rapidly.
The day had begun well for the new skipper, however, winning the toss and having control over the majority of New Zealand's batsmen.
There was a distinct absence of swing, but Ryan Sidebottom and James Anderson bowled accurately to keep boundaries at bay for the first nine overs.
It should have been rewarded with the wicket of Jamie How, who spooned a pull shot straight up in the air, but wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose, having got into good position, spilled the chance, to widespread groans from spectators and teammates alike.
The introduction of Stuart Broad for the 10th over had an instant impact.
His first ball was sliced for the first four, soon followed by a six that Anderson pushed over the mid-wicket rope, but his fifth delivery was driven to backward point where a relieved Ravi Bopara held on to a sharp catch.
Broad, timed at 92mph but still retaining a consistently threatening line, added the wicket of Ross Taylor, whose prod outside the off-stump gave Ambrose a straightforward chance to make amends.
With New Zealand content to score at less than four an over, Pietersen was content to push and use up his powerplays in one go, although it meant his top three seamers had only 10 of the remaining 30 overs to bowl between them.
When England took the prize wicket of a strangely becalmed Brendon McCullum, who took until the final ball of the 11th over to reach double figures with his only four, the new captain had reason for optimism.
McCullum's bat had bizarrely snapped in half playing a defensive shot - a result of many previous lusty blows, but none in this match.
England's challenge was soon deflated by the spin of Vettori
The replacement may well have been subjected to a similar fate in the dressing room after he edged Anderson to a wide solitary slip in the 19th over.
But once again Styris, never the most athletic but so often one of the most effective, played a superbly-crafted, wily innings, his 23rd one-day international fifty.
He had a reprieve, when just 13, Bopara unable to hold on to a chance high to his right, and was the junior partner in a stand of 53 in 13 overs with Daniel Flynn, who made 35 before he was deceived in the flight by Graeme Swann, England's best bowler.
More predictably, Styris played second fiddle in a run-a-ball 77-run partnership with Oram, who also timed his robust 52 to perfection, and despatched one of his sixes into the top tier of the Mound Stand before lofting Swann to long-off.
Styris reached his half-century from 75 balls with a six and launched Sidebottom into the top tier of the grandstand as the England bowlers failed to produce the yorkers required at the end of the innings.
The momentum was decidedly New Zealand's way, but Ian Bell and Alastair Cook, recalled to open in the absence of suspended Paul Collingwood, compiled a useful platform for England.
Bell struck two fours in the opening over and looked in no difficulty before he again fell when well set, lbw playing across the line.
Cook also got into the 20's before feathering a catch behind, but Pietersen, whether affected adversely by the rigours of captaincy or not, never got going.
His departure left 181 needed from 181 balls, and once Vettori came into the attack it never looked likely.
Bopara played some attractive shots but was deceived by a beautifully flighted ball from the left-arm spinner that squeezed through his defences and bowled him.
Luke Wright was equally bemused and Ambrose's wretched day culminated in a tame cut straight to gully, prompting derisory jeers from a section of the crowd.
There was time for some inventive strokes from the impressive Shah, one near yorker somehow carved with the wrists over extra-cover for four, but it was a lone vigil and he was ninth out, caught at long-off in the 47th over.
England were all out for 215 and New Zealand, who had looked such a dejected outfit after defeat in the Test series, the Twenty20 and the first match of this series, were left to savour a deserved victory.
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