Jos Buttler feels England's tour of India served the team well despite series defeats in the Tests, Twenty20 Internationals and ODIs.

England won the Test opener but went down 3-1 over four matches, while they twice led a five-match T20 series before a 3-2 loss.

The tourists were always chasing in the ODIs, both across the series – after India's opening win – and in all three matches, as they bowled first on each occasion.

Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes led a superb victory in the second ODI, but Sunday's decider saw India edge to a seven-run victory despite the best efforts of Sam Curran, who equalled the highest score for a batsman coming in at eight in an ODI with an unbeaten 95.

Defeat meant England have still only won one multi-game bilateral ODI series in India, losing the past six in a row.

The world champions have also been beaten in back-to-back series for the first time since a run of three in 2014 (two against Sri Lanka and one versus India).

But stand-in captain Buttler, who was defeated for just the third time as skipper in ODIs, maintained a positive outlook going forward.

"We've been a brilliant side for a long period of time now," he said. "I think we lost those two series [the T20s and ODIs], but that's two losses in our last 11 series.

"So, we're still a very good side, expanding that talent pool. There's been a few guys obviously missing from this side and guys coming in to have opportunities, which is fantastic.

"And that's been a big part of us getting better and better as a side. We never want to put limitations on what we're capable of. We'll continue to try to push the boundaries and strive to do that.

"And I think the exposure of players coming in and continuing to play in that fashion that we expect is great.

"Expanding that talent pool and pushing each other from within and building the strength in the squad, and the competition for places in the XI, is only going to continue to improve our side.

"So of course, it's again a long cycle looking ahead to a World Cup, but we always want to learn, and you want to win at the same time. We're of course disappointed when we don't do that.

"But of course, there are big pictures moving forward and we'll continue to be a very good side.

"There's more and more experience in guys, a lot of guys, in and around 100 caps as well. So, the experience in the squad is huge, and the exposure for other guys coming in is vital as well.

"I think we're in a really good place as a side."

England have a packed schedule this year before heading back to India in October for the World Twenty20, a tournament in which they were beaten in the final in dramatic fashion five years ago.

Buttler added: "We came here wanting to win. We play the game to win matches and to win series.

"And in the must-win games at the end of these T20 or one-dayers, we haven't quite managed to do that. So of course, we were disappointed with that.

"But there'll be some great learnings taken from the tour, some great exposure to players playing in this part of the world for the first time.

"I think once again expanding the talent pool available to us in one-day cricket, building ahead to the T20 World Cup in a few months' time and of course the 2023 World Cup later on down the line here as well.

"So, any time we expand that player pool, that creates competition, that creates better performance and that's the upward trajectory that we're always after as a side, that continuous improvement."

India held their nerve to level the Twenty20 series against England at 2-2 thanks to a thrilling eight-run triumph at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

The home side posted 185-8 after being put in by Eoin Morgan, despite Jofra Archer claiming 4-33, while fellow pace bowler Mark Wood impressed again, taking 1-25 from his four overs.

However, for the first time in the five-match series, the team batting second were unable to reach their target, meaning the same venue in Ahmedabad will stage a winner-takes-all showdown between the teams on Saturday.

Jason Roy made 40 at the top of the England order and Ben Stokes smashed 46 at a strike-rate of 200 runs per 100 deliveries, only to be dismissed within sight of a first half-century in the format at international level.

Shardul Thakur dismissed Stokes and Morgan in successive deliveries at the start of the 17th over, yet it was all-rounder Hardik Pandya who was the pick of India's attack, finishing with figures of 2-16.

While Thakur was put under pressure when the equation of 23 runs from the final over was reduced to 10 off three balls, Archer's late boundary hitting was not enough for the tourists to snatch victory.

Suryakumar Yadav had earlier capitalised on the opportunity presented by an injury to Ishan Kishan, top-scoring with 57 from 31 deliveries for India. 

His innings included six fours and three sixes and proved crucial for the hosts, with openers Rohit Sharma (12 from 12 balls) and KL Rahul (14 from 17) once again struggling to gain momentum during the critical powerplay.

Virat Kohli had scored 150 runs without being dismissed in the previous two games, but India's captain was out for just one this time, beaten by a googly from Adil Rashid to be stumped by a distance. He finished the game off the field due to injury too, leaving Rohit in charge for the conclusion.

Rishabh Pant was also subdued in making 30, though Shreyas Iyer slammed 37 from just 18 deliveries to help compile comfortably the biggest total by either team in the series so far.

Jos Buttler played a starring role as his 83 not out saw England reclaim the advantage in their T20 series in India with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory on Tuesday.

England are on the brink of a first T20 series victory over India, now leading 2-1 with two matches to play.

In a match played behind closed doors at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium due to coronavirus restrictions, the tourists limited India to 156-6 despite a fantastic unbeaten 77 from captain Virat Kohli.

But England had few issues reaching their target, Buttler and Jonny Bairstow (40 not out) finishing things off to move within one win of a series victory. The two sides do battle again at the same venue on Thursday.

After an impressive India run chase to win the second match, England opted to bowl first when they won the toss and chasing once again proved to be the successful strategy.

Jofra Archer (0-32) dropped a return catch offered by Rohit Sharma (15) with his first ball bowled but Mark Wood - the fast bowler in electrifying form to claim 3-31 -  bowled KL Rahul for his second straight duck. The opener has one run in his past four T20I innings.

India did not get a boundary until the 21st ball and even then it was a fortuitous inside edge for Rohit.

He soon followed Rahul to the dressing room when Wood struck again in the fifth over, before Chris Jordan (2-35) had Ishan Kishan – man of the match on his debut last time out – caught behind for just nine.

Kohli and Rishabh Pant (25) slowly steadied the ship until the latter was run out and India looked out of contention at 87-5 with five overs to spare.

But Kohli starred to ensure his team at least had a score to defend by the time Hardik Pandya (15) was out from the last ball of the innings.

Jason Roy (9) and Dawid Malan (18) did not get going for England but Buttler was in control of the run chase, his 52-ball knock containing four maximums.

Buttler and Bairstow put on 77 together as England coasted to their target with 10 balls to spare.
 

Kohli spectacular again

India skipper Kohli scored 73 not out in the second match and he was even better here in another unbeaten innings.

He scored 77 runs from 46 balls with 12 boundaries - eight fours and four sixes.

The hosts scored 69 runs in the final five overs, an astonishing 49 of them going to Kohli in just 17 balls. Only Yuvraj Singh (58) has ever scored more in the last five overs of a T20I for India.

The only negative note for Kohli individually was when he dropped Buttler at point, but by then the result was beyond doubt.

100 up for Morgan

Eoin Morgan became the first England player and just the fourth cricketer to reach 100 T20I appearances.

It was fitting that England won to mark the occasion, though Morgan himself had one of his quieter games having not been required to bat.

The explosive England captain has 113 career sixes, a stat that puts him third overall and only behind Martin Guptill and Rohit in the shortest format.

The remainder of the Twenty20 International series between India and England will be played behind closed doors as coronavirus cases increase again in the host country.

India, who claimed a 3-1 Test series victory earlier this month, drew level with their visitors in the 20-over format with victory in Sunday's second match.

But the final three encounters will go ahead without fans in the stadiums.

Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium is hosting all five matches and welcomed supporters in large numbers for the first two limited-overs meetings.

However, India has seen another rise in positive COVID-19 tests, with over 24,000 new cases reported on Monday.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) subsequently confirmed it had been told of the change in plans, although it added the decision would have no impact on the England team.

"We have just received confirmation that the remaining T20I matches will take place without spectators," the ECB said in a statement released to Stats Perform News.

"We have also seen the statement by the vice-president of the Gujarat Cricket Association confirming the fact.

"Aside from meaning there will be considerably less noise in the stadium, it doesn't materially affect us as we remain in our bubble and, even when crowds were in attendance, we never came into contact with any of them, and the ball was sanitised whenever it was hit into the stands."

Ishan Kishan enjoyed a stellar India debut as his brilliant 56 helped Virat Kohli's side to a seven-wicket triumph over England in the second Twenty20 International.

Hunting a record-setting, seventh successive oversees T20 victory, England were put in to bat in front of a vociferous, 70,000-strong crowd in Ahmedabad, where Jason Roy's 46 was not followed up as the tourists managed a relatively modest 164-6

Ishan took the chance to shine, the 22-year-old carrying his IPL form onto the international stage with a superb innings which included five fours and four sixes.

Rishabh Pant offered a great cameo of 26 from 13, before Kohli (73), who survived a lengthy stumping review, guided India to a convincing win that ties the series at 1-1.

The captain's decision-making paid off from the outset as he bowled first and Bhuvneshwar Kumar pinned Jos Buttler leg before three deliveries in, yet cool shots from Dawid Malan (24) and Roy put England on the front foot.

With Malan going lbw on review, Bhuvneshwar took a good catch on the boundary to send Roy packing four short of his half-century, before Jonny Bairstow looped to Suryakumar Yadav.

England still looked in a strong position, yet Eoin Morgan (28) and Ben Stokes (24) failed to capitalise on sluggish bowling late on.

KL Rahul's early dismissal then represented a promising start with the ball for England, but Ishan subsequently came to the fore.

With Kohli at the other end, the debutant set about dismantling England's attack, the pair's 16 from the final over of the powerplay putting the hosts in the driving seat.

Dropped by Stokes on 40, Ishan made England pay, surpassing 50 with successive sixes off Adil Rashid, although his magnificent innings came to an end when he was trapped lbw later in the same over.

Pant picked up where Ishan left off, lashing Rashid deep into the crowd before he sent Chris Jordan for 10 from two deliveries, only to pick out Bairstow with the next ball.

Having allowed the supporting cast their moments in the spotlight, Kohli picked his time to shine, moving onto 53 with a sublime lift over the long-off boundary.

Kohli was lucky to survive after smart work from Buttler behind the stumps, but there was no doubt India deserved their success and the skipper's supreme six wrapped things up in style.
 

India's faith in youth rewarded

After suffering a comprehensive defeat in the first match, India needed a response, and in the form of Ishan, who averaged 57.33 in the IPL last year, they may well have found their next T20 superstar.

Ishan is just the second India player to score a half-century on their T20 debut, after Ajinkya Rahane, who amassed 61 against England in Manchester in 2011.

Another landmark for clinical Kohli

Kohli's record in run chases is exceptional and, while Ishan will enjoy the limelight of a special debut, India's captain ensured he was not totally outdone.

He ultimately finished as the top scorer, and his composure and clinical shot selection was displayed in all its glory by a nonchalant, flick of the wrists for a six which not only confirmed victory, but also brought up his 3,000th T20I run.

Virat Kohli has ruled out Ravichandran Ashwin making a Twenty20 return for India anytime soon ahead of the five-match series against England.

Ashwin was named man of the series in a 3-1 Test series victory over England that sealed India's place in the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

The off-spinning all-rounder took 32 wickets and averaged 31.50 with the bat, scoring a magnificent century on his home ground in Chennai.

Ashwin has not played for his country in the shortest format since July 2017 and it appears that is not about to change with a Twenty20 World Cup to come on home soil this year, as India have full faith in Washington Sundar.

India captain Kohli said ahead of the first T20 on Friday: "Washington has been doing really well for us, so you can't have two players of the same discipline playing in one squad.

"Unless Washi has a drastically horrible season and things go south for him. The question has to be asked with some kind of logic as well.

"You suggest where you would add Ash and play him in the team when someone like Washington already does that job for the team. So, it's easy to ask the question but you should have a logical explanation to it yourself."

Kohli vowed his side would take a positive approach from the start when they face a top-ranked England team, with all matches in the series being played at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

The skipper said: "The kind of players we have added into the squad is precisely to give our batting line-up more depth and not play in a similar kind of pattern that we have played with in the past.

"We want to be a side that plays free cricket, not have any baggage of lack of depth and one guy having to bat long enough to make sure we get to a big total.

"We have explosive batsmen in the team now, who can change the game at any stage even if you are two or three wickets down. That's exactly what we've tried to address in picking this squad.

"So this time around, you will see guys a bit more expressive in terms of approaching the innings, and playing more freely.

"I'm not worried about whether we have enough batsmen to take care of things if we lose a couple of wickets early, which was the case before to be honest. We didn't have enough depth in the batting to be able to play freely throughout the first 10 or 12 overs. But I see us being much more positive and free from this period onwards."

Eoin Morgan says Jofra Archer is a "huge asset" to England after the paceman hit out at suggestions he is not committed to playing Test cricket.

Archer is expected to be in the England side when they start a five-match Twenty20 International series against India at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday, having missed the final Test at the same Ahmedabad venue due to an elbow injury.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan questioned Archer's desire for featuring in the longest format, comments which clearly irked the paceman.

Archer wrote in his Daily Mail column: "A lot of people are saying a lot of things about my right elbow, and so as the person the elbow belongs to, I would like to say something in response.

"Let me be clear about something: I've never changed my attitude towards playing for England. I've always wanted to play all three formats. That hasn't changed, and never will as far as I'm concerned.

"I always dreamed of playing Test cricket and don't feel I've had a bad game so far – yet unless I am taking four or five wickets in an innings, I am placed under scrutiny and some people start trying to decipher what's going on.

"Comments like 'he's not committed' or 'he's not good enough' appear as soon as you are not 110 per cent. I find it quite annoying how people read into stuff and form their own opinions.

"I saw one article from Michael Vaughan in which he said: 'If Jofra doesn't love Test cricket, England need to find out why.' We've never had a conversation about cricket, so I found it a bit odd. He doesn't know what makes me tick. He doesn't know what's driving me."

And white-ball captain Morgan said he has had no problems with World Cup winner Archer. In fact quite the opposite.

"He's a huge asset," said England's skipper. "He's a guy that bowls in three parts of the game and can be threatening whenever he comes on. He obviously has express pace, can bowl cutters, variations, and has a very good yorker. He's a huge asset in any format."

Asked if he finds Archer easy to captain, Morgan replied: "I do. He's always been engaging. He is a younger member of our squad that has different interests to the majority of our squad, because the majority of our squad is in their late 20s, early 30s.

"He loves enjoying what he does, in travelling, playing Xbox, playing cricket, playing in front of big, big crowds and he is a huge family man.

"The more I have got to know him: one, the better our relationship is but two, the more I have grown to enjoy his company away from the game because I have got to know him more. He's a funny guy."

Martin Guptill blasted New Zealand to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory in the decisive fifth Twenty20 international against Australia to secure a 3-2 series triumph on Sunday.

The Black Caps restricted Australia to 142-8 from their 20 overs after the visitors won the toss and elected to bat in Wellington, with Ish Sodhi taking 3-24.

Guptill (71 from 46 balls) eased any anxiety about a smaller run chase on a pitch being used for the third time this series, with New Zealand claiming victory with 27 balls to spare.

New Zealand's successful chase bucked the series trend of the side batting first winning every game.

Australia captain Aaron Finch said: "We probably just weren't aggressive enough with the bat. We probably let them dictate slightly, but we didn't get enough runs and kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

"A couple of us put a fair bit of time into our innings, 20, 30, 40 balls and then to not go on with that it was probably the difference in the game. If one of us gets 60 or 70, that might be a 160-170 score and then you're a couple of good power-play overs away from really squeezing."

Sodhi was named as the player of the series, finishing with 13 wickets at an average of 12.07 across five games.

The win was set up by a disciplined bowling display led by Sodhi, while Trent Boult (2-26 with 10 dot balls) did early damage, Mitchell Santner (0-21 with 10 dots) was tight and Tim Southee (2-38 with eight dots) restricted Australia at the death.

Boult trapped Josh Philippe lbw early before Finch (36 from 32 balls) and Matthew Wade (44 from 29 balls) put together a 66-run second-wicket stand.

Finch, who came under pressure earlier in the series after a poor run of form on the back of the Big Bash League, managed one six and five fours during his knock, while Wade hit two maximums and three fours.

Sodhi got the breakthrough with Finch slicing to Santner at point, leaving Australia 74-2 after 10 overs before the innings fell away, with Glenn Maxwell falling for one, Ashton Agar for six and Mitchell Marsh for 10.

Australia lost 68-6 in the final 10, including being restricted to 36-4 from the last five overs, battling an inconsistent pitch and tight New Zealand bowling.

Devon Conway (36 from 28) and Guptill combined for a 106-run opening partnership in the chase, before Glenn Phillips (34 not out from 16) finished the job.

Guptill blasted four sixes and seven fours in his knock, going at a strike rate of 154.35.

Riley Meredith (2-39) took two wickets in two balls, with Conway caught in the deep by Agar and Kane Williamson trapped lbw for a golden duck, but it was too little, too late.

The defeat compounds a bad 24 hours for the Aussies, after India's Test win over England on Saturday confirmed Australia would miss the Test Championship final.

Black Caps captain Williamson said: "Incredibly hard-fought series and momentum shifts throughout. Then to finish with three games on a surface, try and get a read on it was a real challenge."

Record-breaker Aaron Finch is relishing having fans in attendance when Australia face New Zealand for Sunday's Twenty20 series decider.

Finch hit 79 not out off 55 balls in Friday's series-levelling 50-run triumph to become his country's leading run-scorer in the format, with 2,310 overall.

His four sixes in the final over propelled his side to 156-6 and made Finch the first Australia batsman to reach 100 maximums in T20 cricket.

Finch was the only player who really got to grips with a tough surface, but he was just glad to help make it 2-2 after the tourists had fallen 2-0 behind.

"I've always said I'd rather get a duck and win than get some runs and lose," he said after New Zealand subsided to 106 all out, seamer Kane Richardson (3-19) the pick of the Australia attack as spinners Ashton Agar, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa took two apiece.

"But to get some runs and contribute to a win is really nice. I felt like I was hitting them terribly for a large portion of the innings, but it was one of those wickets where you never really felt totally in, particularly when spin was bowling.

"It was nice to get a few out of the middle towards the end and get us to a decent total."

On the subject of a relaxation of coronavirus restrictions allowing for the return of fans for the final match, he added: "You play professional sport because you love entertaining, you love the atmosphere when you're at the ground.

"I love going to and watching sport, so to have fans at the ground, regardless of whether they're rooting for you or against you, is just brilliant. It provides so much."

Aaron Finch became Australia's record Twenty20 run-scorer with a captain's display as the tourists set up a series decider after a dominant victory over New Zealand in the fourth of five Twenty20 showdowns.

Finch's 79 not out off 55 balls helped lay the foundations for a 50-run triumph, with Australia posting 156-6 in Wellington before bowling out the Black Caps for just 106.

It means the series is now level at 2-2, with Australia having come from two down, and will be settled in the final match on Sunday.

Tim Southee was furious after Finch was given not out on umpire's call following an lbw review in the first over, with his reaction resulting in a formal reprimand for a Level 1 breach of the ICC Code of Conduct.

The fast bowler might have been even more angry had he known the damage Finch would go on to do, the skipper accounting for over half of his side's total to become his country's leading scorer in the format on 2,310 runs.

Finch smashed four sixes off the final over, that explosive spell alone giving him more runs than any of his team-mates, with Marcus Stoinis' 19 the next-best tally.

That fact underlined the tricky nature of the pitch and New Zealand could not get to grips with it as Australia's bowlers made hay.

Kane Richardson took three wickets, while Ashton Agar, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa each contributed two, with Kyle Jamieson – who bowled that expensive over to Finch – providing the only real flourish on the Black Caps' scorecard with 30 off 18 deliveries.

With a thrilling finale in prospect, fans will be allowed to attend the decider in Wellington after a relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.

Fantastic performances from Ashton Agar and Glenn Maxwell ensured Australia kept their T20I series against New Zealand alive with a comprehensive 64-run victory.

Trailing 2-0 in the five-match series after a nail-biting defeat last time out in Dunedin, Australia produced an impressive response in the third T20I.

Maxwell smashed 70 from 31 balls with captain Aaron Finch adding 69 as Australia posted 208-4 after losing the toss.

Agar took 6-30 as New Zealand slumped to 144 all out in reply, setting up an intriguing fourth match on Friday.

Spin bowler Agar is the first Australia player to record six wickets in a T20 match and only the fourth ever in international cricket.

Australia are looking to avoid a third consecutive T20I series defeat following losses to England and India, while the hosts are seeking a third straight triumph.

The clash on Wednesday went against that formbook, as well as the trend of this series so far, with Finch's 44-ball knock setting the tone.

After Matthew Wade (5) fell early, the skipper - who had not registered a fifty in his previous 26 innings - put on stands of 83 with Josh Philippe (43) and 64 with a rampant Maxwell.

Maxwell scored 62 of his 70 runs in boundaries, with eight fours and five sixes in a devastating display of hitting.

Kane Williamson opted to bowl despite Mitchell Santner being ruled out with a head cold, meaning he was self-isolating as precaution while waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

Ish Sodhi (2-32) was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers, none of whom could stem the flow of runs.

Devon Conway and Martin Guptill had been the batting stars of the first two matches and it was they who briefly gave the hosts hope.

Guptill fired 43 from 27 balls with Conway adding a slightly more measured 38 from 27.

But their hopes of a successful run chase were effectively ended when Agar removed Glenn Phillips (13), Conway and Jimmy Neesham (0) in the space of five balls in the 13th over.

New Zealand – who had been in with a chance at 109-3 - collapsed from there and were all out after 17.1 overs.

In support of Agar, fast bowler Riley Meredith took 2-24, including the key wicket of home captain Williamson (9), as part of an impressive debut for Australia.

England have confirmed that former opener Marcus Trescothick will take over as their elite batting coach.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced the appointment on Monday. Trescothick will begin his role in mid-March, leaving his post as assistant coach at Somerset.

Trescothick featured in 76 Test matches for England, scoring 5,825 runs at an average of 43.79. He is 16th on England's list of all-time Test run-scorers and tallied 14 centuries.

He played in 123 ODIs for England, scoring 4,335 runs including 12 hundreds.

In other appointments, Young Lions head coach Jon Lewis has been promoted to elite pace bowling coach while ex-New Zealand spinner Jeetan Patel has been named elite spin bowling coach following several temporary spells working with the men's team.

ECB performance director Mo Bobat said: "Following an extensive recruitment process, I'm really excited about the calibre of the individuals that we've appointed into these specialist roles.

"Marcus, Jon and Jeetan have demonstrated their ability at the highest level and also show huge potential for the future. Working alongside Carl Hopkinson, our current elite fielding coach, we have the makings of a strong specialist coaching team, possessing a diverse range of experience.

"Working in conjunction with counties, they will have responsibility for developing and preparing current and next-in-line England players whilst also adding value to our England and Lions environments. In addition, they will support the development of our best under-19 players through our Young Lions programme."

New Zealand's Auckland-based players, including Martin Guptill, have returned negative coronavirus tests and can continue preparation for the remainder of the Twenty20I series against Australia.

The Black Caps lead 2-0 in the five-game series, with Guptill collecting player of the match honours in the second four-run victory last week.

But Auckland has entered a seven-day lockdown after a COVID-19 case was detected.

That development has prompted the fourth game, set for Auckland on March 5, to be moved to Wellington, where the upcoming third match will also be played.

But the New Zealand players based in the city will still be available to feature.

Guptill, James Neesham, Glenn Phillips and Mark Chapman had been self-isolating due to the new measures, but they have each tested negative and will join training again on Tuesday.

Martin Guptill starred as New Zealand equalled their six-hitting record before holding on to win a nail-biting second Twenty20 against Australia by four runs in Dunedin.

Guptill thundered 97 off 50 balls, including eight sixes and six fours, before being caught off Daniel Sams' bowling to miss out on a third career T20 international century as the Black Caps posted a bumper 219-7.

Captain Kane Williamson's 13th T20 half-century was subdued by comparison, hitting three sixes on his way to 53 runs from 35 balls, while James Neesham crashed six maximums to finish unbeaten on 45 from 16 balls.

The hosts' 18 sixes at University Oval tied their all-time record in a T20 international and proved a shade too much for Australia to chase down, as Mitchell Santner claimed 4-31 to rip through the middle order.

Josh Philippe (45 off 32) had steadied the ship, before Marcus Stoinis and Sams came together at 113-6 and picked up the pace in the last seven overs to give New Zealand a major scare.

Stoinis recorded his first T20 half century as Australia closed on an unlikely victory, needing 36 off the final three overs, and 15 off the last, but Neesham's full toss saw Sams caught for 41 to end a thrilling partnership of 92 runs off 37 balls.

Neesham tempted Stoinis into a big shot, which ended his innings for 78, and the tourists came up short on 215-8 as New Zealand sealed a 2-0 lead in the five-match series, going into the third T20 in Wellington on March 3.

The hosts came out swinging from the off, with Guptill posting 17 runs in the opening three overs, but the Black Caps were temporarily slowed when Kane Richardson claimed Tim Seifert (3) with his first ball.

But Guptill blazed through the rest of the power play, thumping a pair of sixes off Adam Zampa's bowling, before bringing up his half century from 27 balls and taking the score to 59-1 off seven overs.

Australia controlled the run rate over the next few overs until Williamson opened up with a maximum off Ashton Agar as New Zealand made it to 85-1 at the halfway point of the innings.

Guptill slammed back-to-back sixes off Stoinis to take his team past 100, and made it four maximums in the space of five balls as a Kane Richardson over was crunched for 21 to bring up the 100 partnership.

Williamson brought up his 50 for 32 balls and Guptill fell three runs short of 100, with Stoinis taking the catch in the deep, before Neesham teed off with three straight sixes.

The tourists gave themselves a chance with Jhye Richardson and Kane Richardson conceding only 10 runs combined off the 18th and 19th, but their hopes of chasing 220 suffered a blow when Matthew Wade (24) fell to Tim Southee (1-47) to leave them at 34-1.

After Aaron Finch lost his wicket to Ish Sodhi for 12, Santner took control, removing Glenn Maxwell (3) and claiming three more wickets in a single over – including Philippe – to leave Australia needing 107 with seven overs remaining.

But the mood turned quickly as Stoinis and Sams' electric partnership created a tense finish before the pair were both caught off Neesham's bowling to leave the New Zealanders breathing a sigh of relief.

Devon Conway starred with the bat at Hagley Oval as New Zealand won the first of five Twenty20 clashes with Australia by 53 runs.

Conway was 99 not out, becoming the first New Zealand player to score five successive T20 half centuries, as the Black Caps posted 184-5.

A fine showing with the ball, led by Ish Sodhi's 4-28, limited Australia to 131 all out in reply as the hosts enjoyed a dominant victory in Christchurch, a city remembering the devastating earthquakes that struck 10 years ago.

Martin Guptill started this match needing 12 runs to surpass Brendon McCullum's record as the highest run-scorer in this fixture (228) but was dismissed for a duck, caught at backward point off the bowling of Daniel Sams.

New Zealand looked to be in serious trouble when captain Kane Williamson's departure in the fourth over left them on 19-3 and with a lot of work to do.

But Conway laid the foundations with a fine knock, which came up just shy of yielding a century despite 10 fours and three maximums.

Conway was on 88 when he got on strike with three balls left, sending the first for a six and the next one for four, but he could only manage a single off the final delivery.

Aaron Finch's side, having lost back-to-back series against England and India, toiled in response.

Finch himself fell inside the first over and that set the tone, with Australia languishing on 19-4 by the fifth over.

Sodhi was the tormentor-in-chief for the tourists' mid-to-lower order, accounting for Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Agar, Sams and Kane Richardson.

Jhye Richardson, who fetched a "life-changing" bid at the Indian Premier League auction, was the last man to fall in a substandard innings from Australia that was ended after 17.3 overs.

This was just the second home win for New Zealand over Australia in this format in six attempts, with the teams set to meet again on Thursday.

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