Jonny Bairstow blasted a century from 58 balls Saturday to propel England to a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the fifth one-day cricket international and a 3-2 win in the five-match series.
Bairstow followed his 138 from 106 balls in the fourth match of the series Wednesday with his fourth ODI century, sharing an opening stand of 155 with Alex Hales which lasted just 20 overs and ensured England overtook New Zealand's total of 223 in the 27th over.
Hales, playing for the first time in the series in the absence of Jason Roy who was suffering back spasms, grabbed his chance and, after patiently supporting Bairstow, went on to his 12th ODI half-century before falling for 61 from 74 balls.
Bairstow posted his century with eight fours and six sixes and reached 104 from 60 balls before being dismissed hit wicket. He stepped outside his leg stump to slash a ball from Trent Boult through the off side but chopped down on his own stumps and stared for a moment, disbelieving before trudging from the crease.
"It was great fun," Bairstow said. "Obviously opening the batting is a bit different to batting in the middle order.
"My job is now to try and go out and score big hundreds and contribute to match-winning scores. That's something I'm really trying to set my marker out to do. It's still a work in progress and will continue to be for a long time."
Chris Woakes took 3-23, Adil Rashid 3-42 and Tom Curran 2-46 as England, after winning the toss, bowled out New Zealand in 49.5 overs.
New Zealand was deprived of its most reliable batsman when Taylor withdrew shortly before the start of play Saturday with a leg injury which has troubled him throughout the series.
Taylor's 113 in the first match at Hamilton helped New Zealand to a three-wicket win; England won the second and third matches — the latter when Taylor was injured — and Taylor's 181 not out in the fourth match Wednesday guided New Zealand to a five-wicket win with three balls to spare.
New Zealand's batting lineup looked fragile in his absence, especially through a middle order in which Mark Chapman, Taylor's replacement, had scored only nine runs in two previous innings and Nicholls 14 runs in four innings, though he hit the winning runs in the fourth match in Wellington.
That middle order was quickly exposed when Woakes, who took 1-16 from six overs in his first spell, dismissed Colin Munro for 0 with the third ball of the innings and when captain Kane Williamson was bowled by Mark Wood for 14, leaving New Zealand 26-2.
The pitch at Hagley Oval looked good for batting at Morgan's decision to bowl on winning the toss was predicated on England's preference to chase a known total rather than to set a target. Morgan was playing his 200th ODI and his 177th for England.
"We lacked discipline with the bat today," Williamson said. "It was a really disappointing effort from out part."
(With AP Inputs)