New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Dunedin, 1st day December 10, 2015

Wickets tumble, but NZ rack up 409


New Zealand 409 for 8 (Guptill 156, Williamson 88, McCullum 75) v Sri Lanka
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The straight drive was a feature of Martin Guptill's hundred © Getty Images

The two batsmen who struggled most during New Zealand's recent tour of Australia rediscovered their form on the first day of the home summer in Dunedin: Martin Guptill made his third Test hundred, his first in 40 innings since November 2011, and then Brendon McCullum raced to a bruising half-century.

The bridge between those innings was Kane Williamson, who made his 88 look effortless against wayward bowling. Guptill added 173 runs for the second wicket with Williamson, to build on his half-century opening stand with Tom Latham, and then he watched McCullum blitz 75 off 57 balls in a partnership of 89 for the fourth wicket. New Zealand's run rate of 4.54 ensured they held the edge at stumps, though Sri Lanka took six wickets after tea to significantly redress the imbalance.

Angelo Mathews had chosen to bowl on a sunny morning at University Oval, to give his seamers first use of any assistance in the pitch, and perhaps to protect his inexperienced batsmen from the potent swing of Tim Southee and Trent Boult, the leaders of New Zealand's four-pronged pace attack in this Test. Having lost Dhammika Prasad to an injury and Kusal Perera to a banned substance, Sri Lanka had three raw batsmen in their XI - opener Udara Jayasundera was making a debut, 20-year old batsman Kusal Mendis was playing his second Test, and allrounder Milinda Siriwardana his third.

In their futile search for seam and swing, the new-ball bowlers pitched too full, and after a maiden over to begin from Suranga Lakmal, there were a flurry of straight drives, both openers using the vertical bat to guard against any lateral movement. Guptill was strong off the pads too, flicking through square leg for boundaries, and New Zealand racked up 51 in the first hour. Latham fell soon after - caught and bowled on the second attempt by Lakmal - but that made barely a dent in the home team's progress.

Williamson's first ball was on the pads from Nuwan Pradeep and he glanced for four, before pouncing on width offered by Lakmal to punch and cut either side of point. He had three fours in his first 15 deliveries. He punished width from Mathews and Dushmantha Chameera too, cutting with confidence to collect three more fours in his next 15 balls. When the delivery demanded it though, Williamson left outside off and was solid in defence.

Guptill also attacked Chameera when the 23-year old quick offered width, slapping a short one through point and flaying a fuller one through cover in the same over. He got to his half-century off 74 balls. New Zealand went to lunch on 114 for 1 in 27 overs, and the pace did not abate after the break. They scored 61 in the next hour. Mathews brought on his experienced fast bowlers again but Lakmal and Pradeep were loose. The pitch had a tinge of green on it but offered no lateral movement. Guptill passed 2000 Test runs in his 38th match - the sixth slowest for New Zealand - with a cut off Pradeep, and Williamson steered him between two gullies twice to get to his half-century off 53 balls.

When Mathews turned to spin, Guptill stepped out and lofted Rangana Herath to the long-on boundary to not let him settle, and later slapped two short and wide offerings fiercely through cover. The only uncertain moments Guptill faced were during a brief surge of pace from Chameera, when he survived two lbw appeals in the 39th over. The second not-out decision would have been overturned had Mathews chosen to use the DRS. Guptill shrugged that off and was soon celebrating a hundred off 147 balls.

Williamson was also purring towards a hundred before he fell in the last over before tea, edging a short and wide ball from Pradeep to slip, entirely against the run of play. Sri Lanka had their foot in the door when Ross Taylor was lbw cheaply to Pradeep after tea, but McCullum slammed the door on it.

Playing his 98th consecutive Test since his debut - a record he shares with AB de Villiers - McCullum scored three off his first 11 balls before treating the small crowd to unrestrained use of his scything blade. No matter who bowled at him, McCullum attacked: he slashed, charged, slogged, hooked, upper-cut and drove to a half-century off 39 balls. Often the boundaries came in clusters of two and three, and Sri Lanka were in danger on conceding close to 500.

McCullum fell top-edging a slog off the spinner Siriwardana, and his dismissal led to a spate of wickets. Chameera struck in his last over with the old ball and in his first with the new: bowling above 140kph, he drew edges from Mitchell Santner and BJ Watling during a spell that was more hostile that any of his previous ones.

Guptill did not survive the day either, edging a Mathews delivery that seamed away, but New Zealand had Doug Bracewell, who had batted impressively in the day-night Test in Adelaide, counterattacking once again. His unbeaten 32 off 39 balls took New Zealand past 400, a total their seamers will be thrilled with on a surface that was beginning to exhibit more bounce late in the day.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • zona on December 12, 2015, 21:20 GMT

    IMO Kane Williamson is going to be the best batsman in the world. He is already the best young batsman in the world. His technique is near perfect and is good for ALL conditions, this is proven by his 100s being scored EVERYWHERE. Of the young batsman Root cant score out of England, Smith is good on fast pitches and a technique that wont last, Kholi MEH. Oh I'm talking test cricket as well, real cricket.

  • Janith on December 10, 2015, 22:04 GMT

    Guess Indians just got pumped with the rare SA victory in their home. Lol let these guys celebrate, and whine a little bit about their casual team, which world doesn't even care lol

  • Amila on December 10, 2015, 21:06 GMT

    In the 90s subcontinent fans used to support their neighboring subcontinent teams when they play against non subcontinent teams. Nowadays subcontinent fans act like kids and do trash talk. (My team is the best. Yours is bad. blah blah blah).

  • Peter on December 10, 2015, 20:08 GMT

    Good positive cricket from the Kiwis, a result is on the cards. The pitch looked to be taking a turn for the bowlers later in the day so perhaps it was a good toss to lose for NZ if they entertained thoughts of inserting SL in. I was also surprised how ineffective Herath was in his bowling, but he has shown what a class act he is & fully expecting an improved role in the second innings. Also good to see Guptill be persevered with, he won't face anything like the high quality bowling he had to over here & Williamson is just an out & out class act, I really enjoy watching him bat, from a pure cricketing pov.

  • Colin on December 10, 2015, 19:32 GMT

    @Carl Whyte I assume your trolling which makes me a mug. However I watched the full days play yesterday and the pitch moved and offered things all day. NZ exploited a SL attack that was not used to it, some luck and also did some good batting. Pushing hard for a run rate was a clever move. I expect SL will find it tough going when they get a bat. A score of 400 first up on this non-road is good. How did Hobart play did you watch it?

  • karthik on December 10, 2015, 18:59 GMT

    Team_Bd.First Bangladesh should try to beat Karnataka A ,then Karnataka, then India A before playing test cricket again. lol

  • Colin on December 10, 2015, 18:05 GMT

    Man a lot bluster and waffle in these comments. For me a rationale read of it was the wicket did a little more later in the day when it had dried out a little. The 2nd new ball moved off the seem more. This was combined with an improved adjustment to NZ conditions by the SL quicks. There was some good pace bowling there.

    On our side BMac rightly recognised if we can score quickly we may have a chance of winning this game given the wicket is still doing a fair bit and that their some bad weather coming perhaps.

    Overall a good performance from the BC and I am very happy for Guptill. I still think his trigger movement is a small problem but I am sure he will take 156 any day a fine classy looky batsman when he is on a roll. I would just stick with this opening pair through thick and thin for a couple of years we don't have the talent at opener to do otherwise. I expect our 4 quicks will make things challenging for SL today

  • Samantha on December 10, 2015, 16:35 GMT

    When skipper McCullum was lightening in the park, it felt like watching last 5 overs of an ODI..

    If SL to avoid becoming a laughing stock in cricket, at least now they should think about aborting the "Local Coach" concept for the sake of future. Local Coach means destroying the last link of merit based choice independence. The main reason for the hellhole SL in today is that. The best example is the choices that we see today in the side, to plug the gaping hole in experience left behind by Sanga & MJ. Appoint a foreign coach like Moody & revamp the selection panel with credentialed yesteryear players like Murali, Mahesh Goonathilake, Upul Chandana, MJ, Sanga, Samaraweera.

    Worst-ever SL side is a too easy kill for Kiwi players. When SL got test status 34 years ago in 1982 they had a far better batting lineup. SL batting depth is thin as paper, even with the addition of much better Silva in the spot originally wasted on Kusal Perera. It would be a miracle if this test gets a 4th day;)

  • Garry on December 10, 2015, 16:08 GMT

    ahsan_7865 well it makes a change from the Bangladesh supporters who always come to NZ tour posts to claim how they are better than us because they won a ODI series when there was lots of turmoil in the team about 4 years ago. I guess they have given up claiming that the are world beaters or cricinfo mods are tired of their dribble.

  • ahmed on December 10, 2015, 15:57 GMT

    @ahsan 7865 that's why just 12 month ago they conceded 268 not by a team but by a individual again just 12 month SL also conceded 400 against same team before this they again conceded 400 again against India in 2009 again bro do u know how many times India scored 400 .5-6 times. come on with something better .

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