Auckland: Skipper Paul Collingwood led from the front as England bounced back from two drubbings to win the third one-day international against New Zealand here Friday to keep the series alive.
After taking three for 43 with the ball, Collingwood flayed 70 runs off just 50 balls to drag his side across the line when their momentum slowed.
England were set a revised target of 229 in 47 overs following a rain disruption at the start of their innings after New Zealand notched 234 for nine, thanks largely to a knock of 88 by Jacob Oram.
With seven overs to play, and England needing nearly a run a ball, Collingwood switched into a higher gear.
In consecutive overs he belted eight off Chris Martin, 11 off Kyle Mills then 17 off Paul Hitchcock before a tame single off Oram ended the match with 18 balls to spare.
At the other end, Owais Shah contributed six runs in the same period to finish 18 not out and ensure the five-match rubber stays alive.
Phil Mustard helped the tourists to a flying start with 15 off nine balls before he was run out by New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori while Alastair Cook fell to Oram for nine to leave England 31 for two.
Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell made their first significant contributions of the series with a 107-run third-wicket partnership before Bell was unfortunate to be given out leg before wicket to Vettori for 73.
Television replays indicated the ball clipped his bat first.
Two overs later Pietersen was also given out lbw to Vettori for 41.
But just when New Zealand sensed they had a chance to press home their advantage, Collingwood had other ideas.
While Vettori pinned down the batsmen at one end, finishing with fine figures of two for 23 off 10 overs, Collingwood made the bowlers at the other end suffer as he drove England towards victory.
Earlier, Vettori had acted as the solid back up Oram needed as he rescued New Zealand from a batting collapse.
The home side, who had produced commanding performances in the first two matches, were struggling at 53 for four after 15 overs.
Brendon McCullum was back in the pavilion for four in the second over, Jamie How scored 10, Jesse Ryder 23 and Scott Styris three as James Anderson and Stuart Broad took control with two wickets apiece.
The out-of-sorts Peter Fulton could only manage four off 25 deliveries before being bowled by Collingwood, and when Ross Taylor became the England captain's second victim for 31, New Zealand were 95 for six in the 30th over.
Oram and Vettori prevented a total collapse, putting on 74 for the seventh wicket before Vettori became Collingwood's third victim, caught by Owais Shah for 42.
The usually big-hitting Oram continued in tempered fashion, reaching 88 off 91 balls with four fours and four sixes before he launched into a full toss by Ryan Sidebottom only to be caught at mid-wicket by a diving Ian Bell.
Broad, with three for 32, and Collingwood, with three for 43, were the most successful of the bowlers.
The remaining matches in the series are in Napier on Wednesday and Christchurch on the following Saturday.