The grass banks of Bay Oval were all but full as the Black Caps upped the ante this afternoon.
A partnership between local hero Kane Williamson and returning favourite Martin Guptill gave the growing crowd plenty to cheer about early.
The first ODI of the series against Sri Lanka started with New Zealand winning the toss and choosing to bat.
After losing opener Colin Munro for 13 in the fourth over, Williamson and Guptill got stuck in and by over 25 had both notched up half-centuries as the Black Caps' total climbed towards 150.
Panduka Dayan, 43, and his friends and family are among the Sri Lankan fans in attendance.
They have travelled to Mount Maunganui from Auckland and Matamata.
"Wherever Sri Lanka goes, we follow. We like good cricket," Dayan told the Bay of Plenty Times.
He was also at the Christchurch test-match last week and said he definitely wouldn't miss the upcoming T20 at Eden Park in Auckland.
Palmerston North brothers Austin and Quinn Shearman have been in the Bay on holiday since December 27 and are squeezing in Austin's first live cricket game with their dad before heading home on Friday.
Austin, 8, is a man of few words.
What are you enjoying about the game? "Everything basically."
Who are you going for today? "Well, New Zealand, obviously."
With a bit more prodding, he then added excitedly: "I like watching Malinga bowl. His arm goes crazy."
The trademark slinging action of veteran Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga was also a highlight for Quinn, 10, who said his day at the cricket had so far been "absolutely brilliant".
Jason Cox, 43, from Hamilton was sitting on the bank in the beating sun with friends Lisa Kingi and Warren Day.
"Big score lining up by the looks of it – 350, 370 maybe," Cox said early on in the game, and by over 30 the Black Caps were well on their way to that, the scoreboard reading 182/1.
Cox said the ground and conditions were "beautiful" and he was enjoying "relaxing in the sun".
It was his first visit to Bay Oval, and he said he could find himself back there come Saturday, when the Black Caps take on Sri Lanka in the second ODI.
"I was hoping to come here to see my cousin's half-brother Doug Bracewell play, but he's been omitted from the team today, so we'll see if he plays in the next game and we might come over again."
By over 35, New Zealand had passed 200, Williamson had departed for 76 and Guptill had brought up his 14th ODI century.
A Mexican wave could be seen making its way around Bay Oval as the large and colourful crowd began to flex its voice, the sun still shining down.
Guptill was given a standing ovation as he walked off the field in the 42nd over, having hit 138 runs off 139 balls in his first game back with the Black Caps after a calf injury.
That included an entertaining 11 fours and five sixes at a strike rate of 99.28.
The Black Caps would finish on 371/7 off their 50 overs, thanks to a quick-fire 54 off 37 balls from Ross Taylor and an even quicker 47 not out off 13 balls from James "Jimmy" Neesham.
Neesham brought the crowd to its feet again when he smashed 34 runs in the 49th over, including five sixes.
He too walked off to a standing ovation, the crowd buzzing as the first innings drew to a close.
The bright lights of Bay Oval are beginning to warm up and Sri Lanka need 372 to win.
A cracker night at the cricket is on the cards.
Full match report: Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham lead Black Caps to victory over Sri Lanka