Martin Guptill will have to go backwards before he moves forward in the test arena.

The Black Caps opener smashed 180 off 138 balls in the fourth ODI in Hamilton, guiding New Zealand to a series levelling victory but coach Mike Hesson has confirmed he won't be in the test squad to face South Africa.

Guptill's knock yesterday raised questions about his suitability to bat further down the order in tests, a format of the game he hasn't played in since last October, when he was dropped after a poor run as opener.

Hesson says plans are already in place to get Guptill accustomed to a new role but he'll have to prove himself for Auckland.

Advertisement

"We certainly gave batting at the top of the order a fairly good crack but certainly batting in the middle order is something we're keen to explore at a first class level first. Martin and Auckland Cricket at certainly receptive to that which is great," Hesson told media today.

It was always going to be tough for Guptill to make his way into the test squad despite his century last night. The test team swept aside Bangladesh in their most recent series with number five Henry Nicholls making 53 and 98 in his two innings.

Earlier today, Guptill told Radio Sport he expected to miss out on the test squad.

"I doubt it," he said. "We'll see what happens."

"I'd bat wherever - I'd bat at 11 - it doesn't matter," Guptill told the Radio Sport Breakfast.

But Guptill's recent hamstring niggles seem to have worked against him. The century-maker seemed to tie up badly towards the end of his dig last night and, if they were at all tempted to bring him back for the tests, selectors may decide it's better to have him fully fit for the Champions Trophy in May/June.

"They're both pretty knackered, to be honest" he told RSB. "I hadn't played in three weeks, so to be out there for the best part of 100 overs ... the body's pretty stiff."

The Black Caps test squad is due to be named tomorrow.