Hamilton: A commanding century by Ross Taylor guided New Zealand to 281 in the deciding one-day international against Australia in Hamilton on Sunday.
Taylor equalled Nathan Astle’s New Zealand record of 16 ODI centuries in his 101-ball innings which included 13 fours.
When New Zealand reached 176 for two in the 36th over, Taylor and Dean Brownlie had set the stage for a big finish and a score in excess of 300 beckoned.
But Australia had other ideas and when James Faulkner removed Brownlie for 63 it started a middle-order rout that saw four wickets tumble in quick succession, slamming the brakes on the run rate.
It highlighted the intent of an Australian side who need to win to square the series and retain their world number one ranking.
Taylor laid the groundwork for the New Zealand innings in a 100-run stand for the third wicket with Brownlie, who was marking his return to the New Zealand side as an injury replacement for Martin Guptill.
After two years on the discard pile, Australian-born Brownlie celebrated his recall with a personal best 63.
He was dropped by Marcus Stoinis two balls after notching his maiden half century, but wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb made no mistake in snaring a faint edge soon after.
Neil Broom (8), Colin Munro (3) and Jimmy Neesham (1) never had time to settle before Mitchell Santner helped Taylor to revive the scoring rate.
Taylor was eventually out using the slog sweep to Faulkner and was caught by Stoinis on the square leg boundary for 107.
Faulkner finished with three for 59 and Mitchell Starc, who took two wickets in successive balls in the last over, returned figures of three for 63. (PTI)