Guptill's dipping form, and battling Watling
Guptill's dip continues
With an unbeaten 122 on one-day debut against West Indies early in 2009, Martin Guptill instantly secured a regular spot in the New Zealand top order. He hasn't missed a game since, but that's not something he'll be able to boast of for very long if his lean run continues. His CV was blotted today by his maiden ODI duck, looking to whip his first ball to the leg side but only managing an edge to backward point, making Lasith Malinga the quickest Sri Lankan to 100 ODI wickets, a week after the bowler had captured his 100th Test wicket.
The hunt for the first run
Another man who didn't score a run was Kane Williamson, who unlike Guptill had got his maiden duck in his very first game. On Tuesday he had lasted nine deliveries; today it was just two before nicking Angelo Mathews to first slip for a second consecutive blob. If he's looking for inspiration, though, he should look no further than Sachin Tendulkar, who started with zeroes in his first two ODIs before going on to own most of the batting records in the format.
BJ Watling had a far better start to his one-day career than Williamson. After surviving a difficult spell against the new ball, he got going with a couple of fours against Angelo Mathews. He persevered in spite of the wickets tumbling at the other end to bring up his half-century with a cracking one-bounce four straight down the ground.
Watch your step
When Gareth Hopkins was foxed by a slow, full teaser from Malinga, New Zealand were hobbling at 123 for 6. The new batsman, Daryl Tuffey, had made decent contributions in his previous matches, but he lasted only one delivery this time - a pacy, pinpoint yorker zeroed in on leg stump and Tuffey just about managed to save his toes, but not his wicket.
With the silken effortlessness that is his signature, Kumar Sangakkara was taking the game away from New Zealand, dominating an 85-run stand for the second wicket with Upul Tharanga. The target was fewer than 100 runs away with more than 30 overs remaining, but New Zealand's hopes were lifted by an outstanding catch at short cover by Guptill, who flung himself low to his right to snap the ball inches from the ground and see off Sangakkara for 48.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo