There was something a bit retro about picking a New Zealand ODI side with Vettori batting at number 5. But, being a build-up match it was all about preserving the shape of the side in the absence of Williamson and Elliott. Keep Anderson at 6, and Ronchi at 7.
McCullum showed us why he will be used as an opener at the World Cup. He won’t be able to do this in every match, but scoring a century at that rate at the top of the innings sets a side up for victory. In theory anyway.
There was an element of the World XI at one end, and the Ilford XI at the other. When he reached his century the team score was 138. The last time McCullum scored an ODI century Nicol, Bates, Oram and Nethula were in the side.
From the perspective of this match alone that was a ball devouring dreadful innings from Taylor. Over reliant on the sweep, he never looked comfortable. In the context of the build-up to the World Cup that was an invaluable 69 balls out there in the middle, because he needs all the time he can get.
It is still too early to get officially concerned about Guptill, but the Eden Park match is looming as pretty important. It is when The Crowd Goes Wild stops air-brushing out his dismissals that worry level becomes official. Latham also missed out again at a time when there was no real scoreboard pressure was taking place.
Then the run outs began. Four of them; during a spell when New Zealand lost 6 wickets for 49. They talk about momentum in sport, but that was quite something.
The main thing about the Sri Lankan run chase was the reminder that they are genuine World Cup contenders waiting for the return of Malinga.
That head-to-head battle between the spinners got more confusing; Vettori started well but then got sloppy in part before returning good figures; N McCullum got taken to by Sangakkara.
The best of the quicks easily.was Henry, although the way Boult showed variety while not getting it to swing was encouraging.
Meanwhile, Milne got some experience at the top level under pressure.
So those MVP points then.
- Brendon McCullum. No argument.
- Matt Henry. He goes top again.
- Daniel Vettori got through his ten overs for 40. We’ve seen this before.