England’s depleted attack was unable to contain Martin Guptill’s “very special innings” as they lost their near four-year unbeaten record in home one-day international series.
A crushing 86-run defeat - after Guptill’s national record 189 not out helped to pile up 359 for three at the Ageas Bowl - confirmed New Zealand as winners of the NatWest Series, with the final match of three still to come at Trent Bridge.
Jonathan Trott, who dropped Guptill on just 13, replied with a century of his own - and he was quicker than the Kiwi opener to three figures by more than two overs in balls faced.
But the England number three’s unbeaten 109 received little lasting support, captain Alastair Cook citing the “scoreboard pressure” of such a big chase as mitigation for five individual innings between 21 and 34. Sheffield and Yorkshire batsman Joe Root hit 28 from 27 balls.
By contrast, Kane Williamson (55), Ross Taylor (60) and finally New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum all shared century stands with Guptill.
England were without injured frontline seamers Stuart Broad and Steven Finn and Cook expects to know more at some point today about their likely recovery in time for the Champions Trophy opening match against Australia on Saturday.
In their absence others struggled - Jade Dernbach in particular.
After Guptill and McCullum had taken maximum advantage of wickets in hand, Cook acknowledged New Zealand had simply got away from England on their way to an unassailable 2-0 series lead.
“I think 320 was about par, and very gettable to chase,” Cook said.
“The last five overs went for 85 runs, so that’s pretty much where they obviously did the damage. But they earned the right to do that by keeping wickets in hand right up until that time.
“They were 270 going into that last five, only three wickets down.
“Even if they’d scored at 10-an-over for those last five, 320 or 330 leaves us in with a chance to win that game. Those extra 30 runs really hurt us.”
The England captain made sure he gave Guptill due credit.
“It was obviously a tough day (for us),” Cook said.
“Huge credit to the way Guptill played - 190 in a one-day game is a very special innings.
“He made us pay, and what was impressive was he always managed to find the right option at the right time.
“If we did build a couple of dots on him, he’d always manage to get the release with a four without taking too big a risk.”