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England kept their one-day series with New Zealand alive after battling back from the brink of defeat to claim a thrilling tie in today's high-scoring fourth one-day international.

Needing seven off the final over to overhaul England's 340 for six - their third highest total in a one-day international - England chose Sussex all-rounder Luke Wright to bowl the final over, his first over of the day.

Wright responded brilliantly and after James Anderson ran out Jamie How, who scored a superb 139 off 116 balls, off the penultimate ball, it left captain Daniel Vettori needing two to win off the final ball or one to tie.

He scrambled a leg-bye, but only after rival captain Paul Collingwood missed with a throw at the stumps to run out Kyle Mills, to leave the series resting on Saturday's finale in Christchurch.

It was a dramatic ending to a thrilling fourth match in the series after England seemed destined for defeat despite recording such a daunting total.

The tourists contributed to their own downfall with wicketkeeper Phil Mustard dropping Brendon McCullum on seven off Anderson, a mistake which allowed him to forge a 70-run opening stand with Jesse Ryder and contribute a useful 58 off 65 balls to New Zealand's amazing run-chase.

He also missed an opportunity to run out How with 10 runs needed and eight balls remaining after failing to collect a sharp throw from Ryan Sidebottom from the deep.

But despite needing seven an over throughout their chase, New Zealand remained on course until that final dramatic over, when England's close fielders pressurised them into mistakes and gave them another chance to level the series.

Ryder, brought up locally, set the tone for New Zealand's chase with an aggressive 39 off 32 balls which helped McCullum recover from a painful blow to his left hand from an Anderson short ball, which required several minutes of treatment.

He took particular pleasure in targeting Anderson, who was hammered for 44 from his first four overs but gained his revenge with a superb running catch in the deep after Ryder miscued an attempted drive off Stuart Broad.

But a 91-run stand spanning 14 overs between McCullum and How left England bereft of ideas until Collingwood turned to the part-time off-spin of Owais Shah in the 25th over of the innings.

Shah claimed a wicket with his third legitimate ball, McCullum over-balancing and allowing Mustard to stump him and give England renewed hope of defending their total.

Instead of stumble under the pressure of chasing over seven an over, How found a willing accomplice in Ross Taylor, who helped add 86 and took New Zealand to within 88 runs of victory with 13 overs remaining.

But the loss of Taylor, caught behind off Anderson, provoked a panic among New Zealand's ranks for the first time with Scott Styris being caught at long on, Peter Fulton being run out without scoring and dangerous strokemaker Jacob Oram driving to extra cover in the space of eight overs.

The dramatic run out of How in the final over seemed to have finally swung the momentum in England's direction, but Vettori managed to scramble the run required to at least deny the tourists the chance to follow series wins against India and Sri Lanka with another in New Zealand.

England's massive total was built by a consistent display from the top five with openers Alastair Cook and Mustard laying the platform with a 158-run stand while Collingwood propelled them beyond 300 with the quickest one-day half-century ever scored by an England player.

Collingwood reached the landmark off just 24 balls, beating the previous record of 28 balls set by Andrew Flintoff against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge in 2002, and helped add 101 runs in the final 10 overs.

All England's top five batsman scored 40 or more while Luke Wright pitched in with a quickfire 24 off 13 balls at the end which enabled the tourists to add 101 runs off the final 10 overs with Collingwood finishing unbeaten on 54 off only 30 balls.
 
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