Matt Henry had made his ODI debut during the home series against India in January, when he took 4 for 38, but then spent nine months on the sidelines of the New Zealand team, until today. The comeback, however, did not start as smoothly as the debut. Henry's first ball was a half volley on leg stump that Quinton de Kock flicked for four. His second was on the pads as well, and de Kock drove wide of mid-on for another boundary. Henry's day could only improve, and it did.
Hashim Amla would have played the delivery so many times in the nets. The ball angled into him, pitched on a perfect length around middle stump, and seamed sharply away from the right-hander. It is Dale Steyn's stock ball, but Tim Southee can also bowl it, though at a marginally slower pace. After being squared up in his crease and beaten, Amla smiled and nodded, having had a taste of what Steyn dishes out to his opponents. The next ball cut in sharply, something Steyn does not do that often, and Amla was hurried and hit on the thigh.
Mitchell McClenaghan bowled a full delivery to David Miller, searching for movement. The ball swung on to the middle of Miller's perfectly straight drive and raced past the bowler to the long-off boundary. Three balls later, McClenaghan tested the batsman with a bouncer; Miller met it on the front foot and unleashed a withering pull to the deep midwicket fence. Round three - the next ball - went to the bowler, though. McClenaghan hit a probing length around off stump and seamed the ball into the left-hander, threading the narrow gap between the inside edge and off stump.
In the first ODI of the series, when Chris Gaffaney called Ryan McLaren's bouncer to Kyle Mills a wide for height, the bowler turned to the umpire and quipped that he must have been a batsman in his day. Today, when McClenaghan bounced back from a no-ball for knocking over the bails in his delivery stride with an outswinger to Miller, he was dismayed to see Gaffaney call it a wide. The ball was inside the guideline for wides outside off stump, and McLaren's words rang a little truer.
AB de Villiers does not usually want for time to play his shots, but Southee hurried him with two successive bouncers. The first one skidded and bounced from just short of a length and de Villiers was late on the pull. The ball took the top edge and flew over the wicketkeeper for a once-bounce four. He seemed to have lesser time to play the second and wore it on the helmet after missing another pull. De Villiers took a moment to realise the ball had gone to fine leg. Perhaps the constant drizzle had greased the pitch for Southee, and the umpires took the players off soon after.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo