NZ beat India by 87 runs, win ODI series 4-0

(AP Photo/SNPA, Ross Setford)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson continued prolific summers with the bat while Matt Henry claimed four wickets on debut as New Zealand beat India by 87 runs to complete the one-day international series 4-0 winners on Friday.

Taylor scored his second century in consecutive innings and Williamson his fifth half century of the series as New Zealand made 303-5 batting first. Henry then took 4-38 in an impressive debut as India was all out for 216 in 49.4 overs.

The win continued seventh-ranked New Zealand's complete dominance of top-ranked India in the series, the third match of which was tied. New Zealand won the first two matches by 24 runs and 15 runs and the last two more emphatically, by seven wickets and 87 runs.

New Zealand's emphatic performance in the series owed a great deal to its consistency with the bat, and that in turn owed much to Taylor and Williamson.

Taylor followed his 112 not out in the fourth match on Tuesday with 102 on Friday, and also scored two half centuries in five innings, totalling 343 runs in the series at an average of 85.75.

Williamson became only the second player, after Pakistan's Yasir Hameed, to score half centuries in every innings of a five match series.

With scores of 71, 77, 65, 60 and 88, Williamson tallied 361 runs in the series, surpassing by 10 runs Nathan Astle's record aggregate for New Zealand in a five-match series.

"It's been a great series all round," Taylor said. "The way we've batted and bowled has been very consistent.

"I think the way Kane Williamson has gone about his business and set the platform for the whole team has been outstanding. Five 50s in a row is not an easy feat and he deserves a lot of credit."

Henry was called into the New Zealand lineup on Friday as it continued to rotate its bowlers, exploiting its newly developed depth in that area. It now has Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan, Hamish Bennett, Henry and the allrounders Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham to call on in limited-overs cricket, along with Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell and Neil Wagner in tests.

Henry's performance on Friday was so impressive he has a strong chance of being called into the New Zealand test squad if injuries occur during its forthcoming two-match series against India. He claimed the vital wickets of Shikhar Dhawan (9), Ajinkya Rahane (2) and Ambati Rayudu (20) as India crumbled to 30-3, then 78-4.

Mills also ramped up pressure on the India top order by bowling his first six overs at a cost of only 8 runs, claiming the wicket of Rohit Sharma (4). He finished with 2-35 from 10 overs while Williamson, in an outstanding all-round performance, took 2-19.

India once again relied on Virat Kohli, restored to No. 3 in the order after opening in the fourth match, and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to do the majority of its scoring. Dhoni had previously chosen to bowl on winning the toss for the fifth straight time.

Kohli made 82 as India's top-scorer and Dhoni 47 but after its slow start, India fell hopelessly behind the needed run rate and its challenge was extinguished well before its innings ended.

"Throughout the series, I think the New Zealand team has played very good cricket," Dhoni said. "Their new-ball bowling has been fantastic but where they've really taken the game away from us is the middle-overs batting.

"They start off slowly but they build partnerships and keep wickets in hand there so they know they can get 80 to 90 runs (in the last 10 overs)."

In a remarkably abundant summer, Taylor has posted his ninth and 10th one-day international centuries after scoring centuries in each of three tests against West Indies.

Under the tutelage of former New Zealand batsman Martin Crowe, Taylor has overcome the leg-side pattern of scoring which was the feature of his early career and developed a much more broad-based and prolific run-scoring ability.

He came to the wicket on Friday when New Zealand was 41-2 and after India bowled exceptionally well in the early overs. With Williamson, Taylor set about repairing the innings and stayed together from the 13th to the 38th overs.

Williamson reached his half century from 64 balls and Taylor followed with a 50 from 54 balls, including six fours.

Captain Brendon McCullum dashed 23 from 18 balls and Jimmy Neesham 34 from 19 balls, with three fours and two sixes, to substantially boost New Zealand's total in the final overs.

The first test starts in Auckland on Thursday.

Updated January 31, 2014

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