The rout was completed in style. New Zealand's most complete one-day cricket series performance against quality opponents ended with some capital punishment in Wellington.
Inspired by Ross Taylor's 10th ODI century and a clinical Kane Williamson, New Zealand posted 303-5 then debutant Matt Henry's rapid 4-38 squeezed the life out of India's chase. The tourists folded for 216, handing the hosts an 87-run run victory at Westpac Stadium.
If games one and two were eye-rubbing upsets, then this was acceptance that New Zealand had blown the wobbling world champions off the park, sealing the series 4-0 with one tie.
The crowd of 13,729, who had a few near misses trying to snare the $200,000 bonus for a one-handed catch, soaked it all up still not quite believing what was unfolding.
“From a one-day point of view it’s the most satisfying series victory that I’ve been a part of. I certainly won’t underplay it. India arrived here as the No 1 team in the world and probably not many people expected us to compete with them, let alone get a series whitewash,” captain Brendon McCullum said.
“We’re delighted with how we played, on the back of some fine performances from Ross and Kane, and also the way the bowlers stepped up. All round it’s a groundbreaking series for us.”
India arrived as the world's top-ranked one-day side but have chased their tails this series. Again, eyeing a record successful run chase at the stadium, they were in the doldrums early against a slick New Zealand pace attack led by the deadly accurate Kyle Mills (2-35), with a newcomer eyeing a chance to impress.
Henry was a surprise debutant for Canterbury team-mate Hamish Bennett, but it was soon apparent what all the fuss was about. The pace ranks were already crowded, now bowling coach Shane Bond's cups runneth over.
Cruising in with an approach not unlike former Australian quick Jason Gillespie, 22-year-old Henry fires it down in the 140kmh vicinity and shapes the Kookaburra away menacingly.
Left-hander Shikhar Dhawan was a prized first victim with Henry's 11th international delivery, angled across and pushed to second slip.
Dhawan smashed the fastest test century by a debutant against Australia last March but he now looks dazed and confused away from home. The incumbent test opener's highest score from nine innings in South Africa and New Zealand this summer is 32.
Henry chipped away at the brittle middle order and had three of the first four wickets as India slumped to 78-4. Then it was another familiar script, the Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni rescue act which wasn't enough.
Spinner Nathan McCullum (1-33) again toiled away accurately and kept the brakes on. In the powerplay as Kohli and Dhoni looked to launch, he conceded two runs in his ninth then a wicket-maiden with his last as Kohli (82 off 78) took on the long straight boundary and lost.
It gave substitute fielder Peter Younghusband, from the Petone-Eastbourne club, the biggest moment of his short career and he became a fan favourite. He blotted his copybook when he dropped a late skyer off Henry, but no-one cared and Henry nabbed his fourth later in the over.
Dhoni (47 off 72 balls) couldn’t guide them home. He said New Zealand’s composed batting was the difference, rotating the strike and keeping wickets in hand, and felt the home bowlers never gave them a look in.
“They executed their plans really well and they stuck to their plans, they were very consistent with their line and length and they kept asking the question. We tried chasing, we tried batting first and it didn’t work. Now it’s up to our batsmen to adapt a bit and still have that positive attitude,” Dhoni said.
Earlier it went to script again; India win toss, send New Zealand in and Taylor and Kane Williamson build an impregnable total. The Taylor-Williamson show rumbled on as India's bowlers looked sharper than Hamilton but still couldn't break down the dual walls. New Zealand's 303-5 was the equal fourth-highest ODI total at the stadium, after Jimmy Neesham (34 off 19) blasted them over 300.
The pair are the Black Caps' bedrock in tests and ODIs and long may it continue. Taylor's summer slam endures as he crafted his second successive ton, and Williamson joined Andrew Jones, Roger Twose and Martin Guptill as the only New Zealanders to score half-centuries in five successive ODIs.
Fresh from a series-clinching 130-run stand in Hamilton, they topped it with 152 last night before Williamson, in total control and eyeing his fourth ODI ton, lifted one to backward point on 88. He ended the series with 361 runs at 72.2.
Wellington is near enough to a home ground for Masterton-raised Taylor. The rapturous crowd stood when he reached a century off 105 balls, then next delivery he tried hitting one onto the railway tracks, but holed out.
Opener Jesse Ryder struggled to crack 20 again after lofting one into the stands at mid-wicket, and sat out New Zealand’s fielding effort with what was described as a bruised thigh.
Fifth one-day international at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
M Guptill c Shami b Aaron 16
J Ryder c Rahane b Kumar 17
K Williamson c Rahane b Aaron 88
R Taylor c Dhawan b Shami 102
B McCullum c Sharma b Kohli 23
J Neesham not out 34
L Ronchi not out 11
Extras (b 1, lb 6, wd 5) 12
Total (for 5 wickets, 50 overs) 303
Fall: 22, 41, 193, 243, 274.
Bowling: M Shami 10-3-61-1 (2w), B Kumar 8-0-48-1 (2w), V Aaron 10-0-60-2 (1w), R Ashwin 6-0-37-0, R Jadeja 9-0-54-0, V Kohli 7-0-36-1.
R Sharma c Taylor b Mills 4
S Dhawan c N McCullum b Henry 9
V Kohli c sub (Younghusband) b N McCullum 82
A Rahane lbw b Henry 2
A Rayudu c Williamson b Henry 20
M Dhoni c Neesham b Williamson 47
R Ashwin b Williamson 7
R Jadeja c Guptill b Mills 5
B Kumar c Ronchi b Henry 20
M Shami not out 14
V Aaron b Neesham 0
Extras (lb 1, wd 4, nb 1) 6
Total (49.4 overs) 216
Fall: 8, 20, 30, 78, 145, 167, 174, 181, 215, 216.
Bowling: K Mills 10-1-35-2 (1w), M McClenaghan 10-0-45-0 (1w), M Henry 10-1-38-4 (2w), J Neesham 5.4-0-45-1, N McCullum 10-1-33-1, K Williamson 4-0-19-2 (1nb).
Result: New Zealand won by 87 runs.
Series: New Zealand won five-match series 4-0.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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