Skipper turns in an all-round show to help the visitor stay in the series

AUCKLAND: Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood scored half-centuries as England beat New Zealand by six wickets with three overs to spare in the rain-affected third limited-overs cricket match on Friday.

The win, achieved under the Duckworth-Lewis system, kept alive a five-match series which New Zealand now leads 2-1.

Bell made 83 in a partnership of 107 with Kevin Pietersen (41) and Collingwood blasted an unbeaten 70 from 50 balls to steer England home comfortably.

Earlier, Collingwood took three wickets, claimed a catch, set intelligent fields and expertly managed his bowlers as England, after winning the toss, restricted New Zealand to 234 for nine in 50 overs.

Reduced target

England was 23 for one in reply when rain swept over Eden Park, reducing its innings to 47 overs and its winning target, under the Duckworth-Lewis system, to 229.

It was 31 for two when the previously out-of-form Bell and Pietersen combined in their century stand for the third wicket, which guided England towards victory.

Both Bell and Pietersen were out to contentious lbw decisions but Collingwood hit six fours and three sixes and put on 80 in an unbroken stand with Owais Shah (18 not out) to see England home.

Top performance

“It was a top performance,” Collingwood said. “After the two defeats we’ve had, to bounce back the way we did was excellent.”

England lost the first match at Wellington by six wickets and the second at Hamilton on Tuesday by 10 wickets.

Collingwood had promised an improved performance, particularly over the Hamilton match in which England suffered one of its heaviest one-day defeats.

England was able to cheaply remove openers Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder, who blasted New Zealand to victory in Hamilton, and expose New Zealand’s brittle middle order, reducing the home side to 64 for five.

“We got early wickets which is always important against New Zealand and we put them under pressure,” Collingwood said.

“The way the opening bowlers set the tone was outstanding.” Jacob Oram led the New Zealand fightback, batting from the 22nd to the 48th over to make 88 from 91 balls with four fours and four sixes.

Oram shared partnerships of 31 for the sixth wicket with Ross Taylor (31), 74 for the seventh wicket with Daniel Vettori (42) and 30 for the eighth wicket with Kyle Mills which enabled the Kiwis to post a semi-competitive total.

Collingwood finished with three for 43 from nine overs and was well supported by Stuart Broad who took three for 32 from 10.

James Anderson took two for 41.

The fourth match will be at Napier on Wednesday. — AP

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