The sun and Bay Oval are both forecast to shine brightly at today's One Day International opener between the Black Caps and Sri Lanka.

It is the first of four Black Caps ODIs at the Mount Maunganui cricket venue this summer and Bay Oval general manager Kelvin Jones said the ground and pitch are looking "fantastic".

"We've been – touch wood – lucky with the weather so far, so preparation's gone as well as it could, with a great build in and the ground's pretty much all set up now and looking a picture."

Groundsman Jared Carter received plenty of complimentary feedback last summer and Jones is confident the praise will continue.


"Our groundsman won pitch of the year for white-ball cricket, with some fantastic wickets right through the season and I think as he gets more and more time here, it's just getting better and better. And I don't see the wicket we're playing on [today] being any different; it looks a cracker."

MetService is forecasting a high of 28C and morning cloud is expected to burn off into a fine day. Westerly breezes will provide some relief for those sitting on the grass banks. The ground holds about 10,000 people.

Play starts at 2pm and will continue into the evening under lights.

The Black Caps' marketing department said this week that they were expecting big crowds at Bay Oval "as per previous matches at this time of year in the Bay".

"There are still tickets, and with nice weather, we are hoping for a good walk-up crowd and should go close to filling Bay Oval."

Jones is also expecting a good crowd today but doesn't think it will be chocker.

"Which, for an ODI, is quite pleasant viewing – sitting on the bank, it'll appear nice and full, but there'll be a little bit of room for people to move around."

He said while it is great to get big crowds at Bay Oval, this is also an event that takes Tauranga to the world thanks to an international broadcast.


"It's not all about having a sell-out; it's also about that image of a fantastic summer destination going around the world."

Jones said his team is taking this big summer of international cricket one game at a time.

"But it's hard not to look ahead to the doubleheader versus India at the end of the month; those games will be the biggest matches the Bay Oval has ever seen," he said.

"If not in terms of crowd numbers, which I think they'll be very popular and they're proving very popular, I think certainly just having a team like India here – one of the best in the world, if not the best – with all their superstars and with a massive, massive TV audience. It's just another step up again for the Bay Oval."

After the Black Caps' two ODIs against Sri Lanka today and Saturday, they will return to Mount Maunganui on January 26 and January 28 for the two ODIs against India – right now the number two ranked One Day side in the world.

New Zealand is number three.

The White Ferns will also visit Bay Oval this month for an ODI against India on January 29.

On the bank among the crowd today will be "really big" Black Caps fan Luke Spargo.

The 13-year-old told the Bay of Plenty Times this week that he would be sitting at cow corner, waving a flag and hoping for a few catches.

Black Caps fan Luke Spargo, 13, will be at the game today. Photo / George Novak
Black Caps fan Luke Spargo, 13, will be at the game today. Photo / George Novak

Spargo said he has watched a lot of games at Bay Oval and has played there as well.

"It's really nice. It's good to bat on."

Jones made a similar comment.

"With the wicket and the outfield, there are plenty of runs here, but obviously it comes down to the two teams from here."