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January 10, 2009
Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, has hailed Martin Guptill's century on debut in the fourth ODI against West Indies in Auckland as "one of the best [innings] I've seen in a long time".
Guptill, the Auckland batsman, was pushed up from his expected No. 3 spot after opener Jesse Ryder was ruled out on disciplinary grounds. He made an unbeaten 122, the second-highest score on ODI debut, to guide New Zealand to an imposing 275.
"Just the composure of a guy to come in for his first game and not look to accelerate at any stage, he played in a controlled manner the whole time," Vettori said after rain forced the match to be abandoned.
Guptill had his share of luck early in his innings when the ball was swinging around, being dropped three times before reaching 30. He admitted that he had been jittery initially but grew in confidence as the innings progressed, so much so that he brought up his century with a six over long-on off Chris Gayle.
"I was a bit nervy and getting that first run was a weight off my shoulders," he said. Regarding the six to reach his hundred he said, "It was a spur of the moment thing, at first I thought I'd got under it too much but then it kept going."
The series is now level at 1-1, with the final ODI to be played in Napier on Tuesday. If Ryder is back for that game, New Zealand will have to decide whether Guptill should continue as opener, or move down to No. 3.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the fifth ODI in Ranchi
Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough