Jimmy Neesham made a dream return to international cricket Thursday, crushing Sri Lanka with bat and ball as New Zealand won the opening one-day international by 45 runs in Tauranga.
Neesham, recalled after 18 months in the wilderness as New Zealand look to trial all-rounder options before the World Cup, flayed the Sri Lankan bowling with an unbeaten 47 off just 13 deliveries.
He then took three for 38 to share the spotlight with player-of-the-match Martin Guptill who set the New Zealand innings alight with 138 off 139 deliveries.
On a placid wicket favouring the batsman and on a ground with short boundaries, Kusal Perera also reached three figures with 102 for Sri Lanka while Niroshan Dickwella added 76.
But in reply to New Zealand's 371 for seven, Sri Lanka were all out for 326 with six balls remaining.
SCORES IN BRIEF
NEW ZEALAND: 371 for 7 in 50 overs (Guptill 138, Williamson 76, Taylor 54, Neesham 47 not out; Malinga 2-78, Pradeep 2-72, Perera 2-80)
SRI LANKA: 326 all out in 49 overs (Dickwella 76, Gunathilaka 43, Perera 102; Boult 2-65, Ferguson 2-65, Sodhi 2-53, Neesham 3-38)
Result: New Zealand won by 45 runs.
Player-of-the-match: Martin Guptill.