England thrash New Zealand in T20 – bring on The Ashes
Invigorating New Zealand tour comes to an end with another thrilling win for reborn England
The England cricket team's metamorphosis from one-day whipping boys to box office idols continued at Old Trafford as they rounded off a wonderful series against New Zealand with a crushing win in a one-off T20 encounter.
Inspired by Joe Root, who made 68 off 46 balls, England posted an impressive 191-7 in their 20 overs, but New Zealand looked on course to reach that target after Brendon McCullum launched a familiar assault on the bowlers, smashing 35 off 15 balls, and the Kiwis found themselves at 89-2 in the ninth over.
The dismissal of Ross Taylor, caught at mid-off, was crucial as no other batsman made it to double figures as the New Zealand innings petered out, with the tourists dismissed for 135 in the 17th over.
It was a yet another impressive performance from England and a nice way for interim coach Paul Farbrace to bow out.
When the thrilling Test series is added to the equation there is little doubt that the visit of the Kiwis has been a huge success, reinvigorating the team and banishing memories of the Kevin Pietersen affair and the sacking of Peter Moores at the start of the summer.
"As New Zealand's memorable tour drew to a close, their results falling short of the impact that their bold cricket has made, another full house was a testament to the vivid impression that these teams have made in a rousing start to the summer," says The Times.
It has been "golden couple of weeks for English cricket", says the Daily Telegraph. "Now it is time for the Australians, who cooked up a barbecue for the media yesterday but will have to go some distance to match the sumptuous spread served up by their New Zealand cousins in recent weeks."
Writing before the T20 showdown, Jonathan Agnew of the BBC said that the "big question" was whether England could carry their newfound momentum into the Ashes.
He said returning Test players, Alastair Cook, Stuart Broad and James Anderson should be "energised by how England have played" in the white-ball formats, while Bayliss would want to speak to Farbrace about how he has "overseen this remarkable transformation" in English cricket.
His hopes for the Ashes appear far more positive than they were before the New Zealand tour. "The first match in Cardiff is very important," he writes. "England can't afford lose that first Test. They will have to play at the top of their game to beat Australia, but I don't think anyone would write them off."
England legend Ian Botham agrees that the New Zealand tour had provided England with just the tonic they needed. "There are a lot of things that have come out of this [one-day] series and the Test series that will stand England in good stead," he told Sky Sports.
"With Australia in the country now, the confidence they gain from this will do them the world of good for the Ashes. Australia will try to bully England but this side will stand out and show character."