New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Christchurch December 26, 2015

McCullum goes berserk

Plays of the day from the first ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Christchurch

Brendon McCullum didn't send only the ball flying © AFP

The bat swing

Four days after announcing his international retirement, Brendon McCullum was sending the ball over boundary ropes as if nothing had changed in his career. In the seventh over of the chase, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews brought himself on as his side had already conceded 52 runs. Nothing changed then either as his first ball went sailing over the midwicket boundary, thanks to a pull from McCullum. But when he tried it again next ball, the ball went over the covers after taking an edge because the bat too went flying out of the batsman's hands and went behind square. Mathews would have hoped at least that would change something as McCullum went off strike, only to return for the last two balls and clobber two more fours.

The nervy debut

Debutant Henry Nicholls would want to remember his first ODI for scoring a quick and unbeaten 23 off 21 balls that also included the winning runs on his home ground. Much before that, though, he had already been part of the highlights package twice. Just after Sri Lanka lost their first wicket, Nicholls, stationed at midwicket, got into the action early when Tillakaratne Dilshan pulled a ball from outside off to produce a top edge. Nicholls got under it and put his hands around the ball using the unorthodox crocodile method of catching. However, when he was offered another chance, by Milinda Siriwardana in the 15th over, Nicholls ran to his right from deep square leg and put in the slide early, used a more orthodox catching style. but put it down.

The ignored boundary

Early in the match the spectators got to see a fluid Dilshan drive that went through the covers and an adrenaline-filled McCullum who chased the ball all the way till the boundary, but in vain. When he put in the slide, he ended up pushing the Toblerone-shaped boundary cushions back a fair bit. In a hurry or carelessly, McCullum ran back to his position after picking up the ball and the cushions now had a massive curve. No other player or groundsman or official fixed it and they remained as it is for most of the next over, in which Adam Milne drew all the attention for bowling near the 150-mark.

Flame throwers halt play

Matches are often interrupted by the weather, sight-screen problems, streakers, injuries, balls being lost, and many other reasons. When Sri Lanka were approaching the 100-run mark with six wickets down in the 27th over, on-strike batsman Siriwardana reported an issue with something that was close to the sight screen - flame throwers. Probably installed for use during the T20s played at the Hagley Oval, the flame throwers were reflecting light to disturb the batsman. They held up play for nearly ten minutes before the issue was resolved and play resumed.

Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Tony on December 26, 2015, 22:56 GMT

    Gee such a positive spin on a really close game

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