Two returning Black Caps stole the show in the first ODI at Bay Oval, and tomorrow, Sri Lanka will be hoping some of their own recent arrivals can have a similarly devastating effect.

New Zealand opener Martin Guptill was dominant in his first game back from a calf injury yesterday, hitting 138 off 139 balls – his 14th ODI century and his second at Mount Maunganui.

All-rounder James "Jimmy" Neesham, also in his first game back, became the talk of the cricketing world with his crowd-raising 47 not out off 13 balls, and then three wickets later on.

Reliable-as-ever, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor added 76 and 54 respectively to New Zealand's total of 371.


Bay Oval was at its loudest when Neesham was smashing 34 off the 49th over, the left-hander dispatching five sixes over the rope – the last of which landed on the roof of the Carrus Pavilion.

The occasion was a success from a Bay Oval and New Zealand Cricket perspective.

Warm weather and a stunning orange sunset provided the perfect summer holiday setting for a crowd of more than 6200 to sit back and soak up the Black Caps' 45-run win.

With more sun and warm temperatures forecast (max 24C), tomorrow could see an even bigger turnout and Guptill and Neesham's entertaining performances could also play a role in that.

There is a small chance of a shower passing over Mount Maunganui tomorrow afternoon, the MetService said, as well as light winds and sea breezes.

This morning, speaking to media at Trinity Wharf hotel – where both teams are staying – Neesham said his first game back was a lot of fun.

"I sort of went out there without too many expectations and just decided I would try take a couple of balls from Malinga at that other end, and then get going with the wind from the other end," he said.

"Sometimes you go out there, and it hits the middle from the start and other times you struggle a little bit, but yesterday was obviously a good day."

Jimmy Neesham smashed 47 off 13 balls at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Thursday. Photo / Marty Melville /
Jimmy Neesham smashed 47 off 13 balls at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Thursday. Photo / Marty Melville /

Neesham was also one of few players who could walk away from the first ODI happy with his bowling figures, finishing eight overs for 38 with the scalps of both Sri Lankan openers, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka, who put on an impressive 119 for the first wicket.

Neesham also got rid of the experienced Dinesh Chandimal.

"Bowling's been the main focus for me, really, over the last year-and-a-half or so, since I obviously got left out of the team," the right-arm pacer said today.

"I pretty much now train as a front-line bowler and get my batting training done when I can and obviously the increased load and increased numbers of balls I've been bowling are helping a lot."

Neesham is trying to be as relaxed as possible at the bowling crease, and said he knows he can bowl up around the 140km/h mark.

"If I'm bowling well, that's good enough; it's just a case of being more consistent and that was a good start yesterday obviously."

Bay Oval is not exactly a bowlers' paradise – almost 700 runs were scored there yesterday.

Neesham said it could be pretty hard to defend on a quick outfield and good wicket like Bay Oval's, especially when bowling under lights as it starts to get a bit dewy.

"I think it's just about being a little bit unpredictable, not putting three or four balls in the same spot and obviously with these sub-continental teams, you want to use your bumper as well when you can."

He said the Black Caps had taken both the good and bad out of yesterday's bowling performance, would talk about that and would hopefully go into tomorrow "and be that five per cent better".

The excitement surrounding the arrival of veteran Sri Lankan fast-bowler Lasith Malinga for both the ODI and T20 series – with his trademark slinging action and world-class limited-overs record – fell a bit flat in the first ODI.

He took two wickets (opener Colin Munro and debutant Tim Seifert) in his 10 overs but went for 78 runs, and gave away four wides and two no-balls.

Malinga, who is captaining Sri Lanka and leading their bowling attack, will want to have more of an impact tomorrow and back up the form of his top order batsmen.

Coming in at first-drop yesterday, Kusal Perera picked up where the openers left off and put on a stunning 102 off 86 balls.

If he continues in a similar style tomorrow and is supported by those around him, Perera could take his side all the way, and level the three-match ODI series.

Meanwhile, Ish Sodhi was the pick of the spinners in the first ODI, outplaying his Sri Lankan counterparts with two wickets and 53 runs off his 10 overs.

"He's massively important to us," Neesham said today when asked about Sodhi's role in the Black Caps' bowling plan.

"He's been performing well in white-ball cricket for the last year or so; I think he's in the top 10 of bowlers in T20 cricket as well, so he knows his role pretty well."

Play starts at Bay Oval at 2pm tomorrow.