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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

England favourites to win ODI series decider

Kiwi paceman Trent Boult can extend fine record at Hagley Oval

New Zealand bowler Trent Boult poses a major threat to England in Christchurch
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Fifth ODI
Sky Sports Cricket, 10pm Friday

New Zealand and England are two of the world's most exciting one-day teams and their five-match series is set for a thrilling conclusion in the decider in Christchurch.

England are favourites to claim a 3-2 victory although they blew a great chance of sealing the series in the fourth ODI in Dunedin.

It was a classic case of 'beware the injured batsman' for England as Ross Taylor, struggling with a quad strain, blasted an unbeaten 181 to secure a five-wicket win.

England's innings petered out as they stumbled from 267-1 to 335-9 but that still looked an imposing target after New Zealand openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro both fell for ducks.

But Taylor's remarkable innings kept the Kiwis in the series and the hosts will be desperate for the middle-order man to be passed fit for the fifth ODI.

Racing punters who believe in the magic of wind ops may be interested to note that Taylor is averaging more than 65 in ODIs since an eye operation in 2016.

He also scored a century in New Zealand's victory in the second ODI, when Guptill, Munro and Kane Williamson all fell cheaply, and his absence would heap pressure on the top three in the order.

New Zealand will be especially keen to take early wickets after Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root's tons laid a hugely promising foundation for England last time out.

Left-armer Trent Boult has posed a consistent new-ball threat, picking up two wickets in each of the first four ODIs, and he will relish the return to the Hagley Oval, where he routed the West Indies with 7-34 just before Christmas.

Boult followed up with 3-18 in the next game against the Windies, extending his ODI record in Christchurch to 15 wickets in six outings, and he has also claimed 22 scalps in four Tests at the ground.

England's Jason Roy will certainly be in Boult's sights and bet365's 5-6 that Bairstow outscores his opening partner is worth a bet.

Roy has been in the doldrums since flaying 180 in the first ODI against Australia at the MCG. That innings – England's highest individual score in 50-over internationals – put plenty of credit in the bank for the Surrey opener but his eight subsequent ODI scores have been two, 19, nought, 49, 49, eight, 15 and 42.

He also had a lean Trans-Tasman Twenty20 Tri-Series, making 46 runs in four matches, and Bairstow has outscored him in three of the four ODIs in New Zealand.

The Yorkshireman, given a break after the gruelling tour of Australia, made an excellent 138 in the fourth ODI and seems intent on nailing down a place at the top of the order.

All three of his one-day centuries have been scored since September last year and he averages 58 when batting in the top three.

T Boult top New Zealand wicket-taker
1pts 11-4 bet365, Hills
J Bairstow to score more runs than J Roy
2pts 5-6 bet36

Already advised February 24
England to win series 3-2
2pts 7-4 general

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Boult will relish the return to the Hagley Oval, where he routed the West Indies with 7-34 just before Christmas
E.W. Terms
Sky bet