Ed Hawkins previews game four from Dunedin on Tuesday night and says the hosts need their anchorman back...
New Zealand v England
Tuesday 7 March 22.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
New Zealand sweat on Taylor
New Zealand will be kicking themselves that they are not in the lead having done an awful lot of hard work to grab game three by the scruff of the neck in Wellington.
Having bowled out a strong England batting line-up for just 234 they really should have gone on to win. Particularly as they were 80 for one with Colin Munro and Kane Williamson both set.
However, they were undone by a collapse, losing five wickets for 23 runs and despite Williamson's brilliant century they fell short. Williamson was probably pining for the redoubtable anchorman that is Ross Taylor. He would have taken huge pressure of the skip because he can also give it a biff.
Taylor was missing with a quad injury. Coach Mike Hesson said it was "promising" that he would return for this game. There is no doubt they miss him - New Zealand's winning percentage drops by almost 20 per cent in the last five years against the established nations without him.
Were England lucky?
Perhaps England got lucky in Wellington. After all, having wrestled back the initiative with Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid working together to bring about the collapse, they almost threw it away.
Williamson and the excellent Mitchell Santner took the Kiwis to the brink before the latter was run out backing up, Williamson's drive touching Chris Woakes' fingers before breaking the stumps.
Luck favours the brave, though, and there was still work to do in the final over when New Zealand needed 15. Woakes - just about - held his nerve.
It is likely that England will remain unchanged. David Willey missed out for Mark Wood, a harsh swap considering his mean figures in game two. Wood, like Willey, was not trusted at the death. That presents a problem for England going forward.
Ben Stokes isn't trusted, either, after his T20 implosion in the World Cup so the onus is on youngster Tom Curran and Woakes to nail their skills.
Bowlers to the fore
Dunedin's University Oval has hosted only eight ODI. It used to be one of the smallest grounds in New Zealand before the playing area was expanded in 2004. In January, New Zealand thrashed Pakistan there by 187 runs. They made only 257 but bowled out Pakistan for just 75 with Trent Boult taking five wickets. Santner, a spinner, didn't bowl suggesting it was seam and swing friendly.
Low scores have been the norm. The average is only 243 and 300 has been busted twice, by New Zealand in back-to-back games against a weak Sri Lanka team in 2010. We would like to lay 280 or more but it is rare that the right price is available. Around [2.1] or [2.2] would be acceptable.
Kiwis have a sniff on match odds
England are [1.73] and New Zealand [2.34]. As you were pre-Wellington, then. The hosts might have more of a sniff this time round, though.
There's been a bit of moisture around in Dunedin and that should help to make it bowler-friendly. And clearly the Kiwis need wickets which assist Boult, Southee and Lockie Ferguson to keep this England batting line-up quiet. They need a leveller. Read here about the best bowler bets for the contest.
But they also need Taylor back. And we couldn't consider them value unless we were sure he was fit. If he plays, they are a reasonable selection, though, for a punt.
De Grandhomme grand
Taylor being in or out will not, however, impact our thinking for top Kiwi bat. We rarely look outside Williamson, who did the business for our stats column last time, and Martin Guptill. Along with Taylor, they are New Zealand's Holy Trinity. Williamson is [3.5], Guptill [4.2] and Taylor [5.0]. You can read about Williamson and Guptill's true odds here.
Williamson has 269 runs in five at the ground, Taylor 255. If it is nipping around, though, Colin de Grandhomme at 13/1 with Betfair Sportsbook might appeal.
Don't rule out Moeen for runs
Finding a wager on England's top bat market is not easy. Here's why. But in short, almost to a man they are all too skinny. Joe Root should be [4.4] but the exchange offers [3.75] and Sportsbook 3/1 as an example. Eoin Morgan top-scored in Wellington. He is [5.2]. For the same reason as De Grandhomme, we quite fancy Moeen at [16.0].
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
Lay 280 or more 1st inns runs at [2.2] (1pt)