Chester-le-Street, July 3 (IANS) Jonny Bairstow slammed his second successive hundred but New Zealand bowlers did exceptionally well to brave England’s early onslaught and restrict them to 305/8 in 50 overs in a crucial World Cup clash here on Wednesday.
Bairstow, who scored a match-winning 111 against India in Edgbaston on Sunday, cracked 106 off 99 balls (15×4, 1×6) as Jason Roy also struck his second fifty in a row by scoring 60 off 61 balls (8×4).
Bairstow became the first-ever English player to score two back-to-back hundreds in World Cups. It was also his third successive in ODIs against New Zealand.
But after the opening stand of 123 was broken, New Zealand pacers led by Trent Boult (2/56), Matt Henry (2/54) and all-rounder James Neesham (2/41) put the breaks on by taking regular wickets as England limped to a 300-plus score riding Adil Rashid’s 16 off 12 balls and Liam Plunkett’s 15 off 12 deliveries not out.
England got off to a flying start with dashing openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow in their usual devastating self.
Kiwis started with Mitchell Santner first up but the ploy did not work as the first ball went for four byes and then Roy hit him for a boundary to take nine off the over.
There was no stopping the pair from then on as they took the pacers to the cleaners and forced skipper Kane Williamson to bring in Colin de Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham to take tha pace off the ball.
New Zealand missed their leading pacer Lockie Ferguson badly after he was ruled out owing to a hamstring niggle, opening the door for Tim Southee who had a forgettable start, being slapped for three back-to-back fours by Bairstow.
Roy brought up his 17th international fifty in 55 balls and a second successive one while Bairstow got to his half century in 46 deliveries.
The pair added 123 runs for the opening wicket before Roy was caught by Santner off Neesham at short cover.
It was only the 19th over and England were 123/1, looking good for another big total.
Bairstow and Joe Root then joined hands for a 71-run first wicket partnership. Bairstow brought up his 100 in 95 balls, but things started to fall apart for the hosts in the 31st over when Root (24) was caught behind by stumper Tom Latham off Trent Boult.
Skipper Eoin Morgan scored 42 off 40 balls (5×4) but lacked support at the other end.
Bairstow dragged a Henry delivery onto his stumps in the next over and Jos Buttler was sent in ahead of Ben Stokes. Buttler (11) failed to make a mark, caught at mid off by Williamson off Boult as Stokes too played an uncharacteristic knock of 11 off 27 balls before getting out.
Chris Woakes (4) followed suit and England the Kiwis firmly reined in to hold England back.
Brief scores: 305/8 in 50 overs (Jonny Bairstow 106, Jason Roy 60; Jimmy Neesham 2/41) vs New Zealand