New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI: New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 45 runs in a high scoring encounter
Thanks to Martin Guptill's century, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor's fifties, and a belligerent knock by James Neesham, New Zealand posted a massive total of 371 and despite getting a superb start, the Sri Lankan team lost wickets at regular intervals, and were bowled out for 326.
Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and decided to bat first, and soon after, Martin Guptill, who was returning back into the Kiwi ODI squad, made a positive start along with Colin Munro, but the latter was soon dismissed by the Sri Lankan captain Lasith Malinga.
Post that, Guptill and captain Kane Williamson steadied the innings and helped the hosts reach 58 for 1 after the end of 10 overs.
After the power play, both of them continued to take singles and kept hitting the bad balls away for boundaries. Guptill reached his half-century off 54 balls and pretty soon Williamson followed with his half-century off 52 balls. It was a great display of batsmanship by both these experienced campaigners.
But after putting together a huge partnership of 163 runs for the 2nd wicket, Williamson got bowled by Nuwan Pradeep after scoring 76 off just 74 deliveries.
Guptill, though, didn't lose his concentration and reached his 14th ODI century in 111 deliveries as Ross Taylor joined him on the crease. He gave very good support to Guptill as both continued to smash the Lankan bowlers.
And after another brilliant partnership of 88 runs, Guptill was dismissed by Thisara Perera, after scoring a magnificent 138.
Soon after, Taylor also reached his 50 in just 34 deliveries before being dismissed as New Zealand lost 3 quick wickets. Then came in James Neesham, and he simply destroyed the Lankan bowlers, hitting 47 runs off mere 13 balls, and in the process smashed Thisara Perera for 34 runs in the 49th over, helping his team post a massive total of 371 in 50 overs.
Chasing a target of 372 to go 1-0 up in the series, the Sri Lankan openers Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka got the team off to a flying start, as they raced away to a score of 70 at the end of the first power play, without losing a wicket.
Soon after, Dickwella reached his half-century in just 33 balls and continued to take on the Kiwi bowlers before Neesham took the wicket of Gunathilaka to break a 119-run opening stand and then two overs later, he also sent back the other opener in Dickwella, for 76.
Post that, Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera gave the innings a bit of stability and put on a partnership of 52 runs before Ish Sodhi dismissed Mendis.
But, the stylish left-handed batsman, Kusal Perera, continued to play with positive intent while other Sri Lankan batsmen failed to stay with him and make a significant contribution.
Asela Gunaratne struggled to time the ball from the start and was dismissed for 11 while Thisara Perera also failed, scoring just 4 runs.
Kusal Perera, though, played some magnificent cricket and reached his century from just 82 balls but was dismissed soon, in an attempt to keep up with the ever-increasing scoring rate as Sri Lanka were then bundled out for 326 in 49 overs.
With the ball, Jimmy Neesham starred with 3 for 38 while Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson, took 2 wickets each.
With the win, New Zealand now take a 1-0 lead in the 3-match ODI series with the second match of the series to be played in just two day's time, on 5th January, at the same venue.