Ben Stokes stars as England level series against New Zealand

Ben Stokes: Steered England to victory.
Ben Stokes: Steered England to victory.
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England won the second one-day international against New Zealand by six wickets in Mount Maunganui to level the series at 1-1.

Ben Stokes steered England home with an unbeaten 63 and Jos Buttler was 36 not out.

Stokes was playing only his second game since missing the Ashes tour due to an ongoing court case during which he has denied a charge of affray alleged to have been committed in Bristol in September.

The all-rounder showed no signs of that being on his mind as he put in a man-of-the-match performance which also included taking two wickets as England hit 225-4 to win by six wickets.

England had produced an exemplary performance in the field to restrict New Zealand to 223 all out.

Only opener Martin Guptill (50) could make a significant top-order contribution after Eoin Morgan chose to bowl on an initially cloudy afternoon.

David Willey and Jason Roy each pulled off two moments of outstanding fielding, including the latter’s boundary catch to dismiss Guptill, as England hit back after their three-wicket defeat in Hamilton on Sunday.

New Zealand made some of their own trouble, too, with four run-outs blotting a faulty scorecard which was partially resuscitated by a maiden ODI half-century from in-form Mitch Santner (63no) in a ninth-wicket stand of 69 with Lockie Ferguson.

The standard of catching remained top-drawer as England lost Roy and then Joe Root cheaply, to a blinder by Colin de Grandhomme at midwicket, but the reply reached 86-3 after 15.2 overs.

The first two wickets fell to Trent Boult, but Morgan kept the tourists on course to head to Wellington all square.

Morgan survived a half-chance on 27, Tom Latham unable to hold a very tough one high above his head after the England captain gloved an attempted pull behind off the pacy Lockie Ferguson.

Then, though, Jonny Bairstow upper-cut the same bowler straight to third-man to end a stand of 39.

England reached 20 overs with the total on 111-3.

Morgan had been joined by Stokes at the crease and the partnership was nearly ended quickly as the all-rounder called for a quick run, ending up sliding to make his ground and losing his bat in the process.

Stokes took a painful blow to the hip from Tim Southee but was able to continue after initially falling to the ground in pain.

Morgan survived a chance when he was dropped by Henry Nicholls off Southee, the fielder spilling a difficult catch diving to his left when his elbows hit the ground.

The England pair carried on regardless and had cruised to 169-3 with 30 overs gone, Morgan unbeaten on 62 and Stokes racing to 48.

But Morgan fell shortly after when he offered a simple return catch to Colin Munro after failing to add further to his total, leaving the tourists on 174-4.

Stokes seemed unfazed and soon went past his half-century as England cruised towards victory.