Newcomers Jamie How and Peter Fulton shared a 95-run partnership to guide New Zealand to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka yesterday in the resumption of a limited-overs cricket series interrupted by last year's tsunami.
How and Fulton recorded their first limited-overs half-centuries as New Zealand overhauled Sri Lanka's modest total of 164 with only three wickets down and almost 13 overs to spare, scoring 166-3.
How, a squat opening bat with a wide repertoire of shots, made 58, the second-highest score by a New Zealander on one-day debut, while Fulton, in his second one-day international, made a fluent, unbeaten 70
Both players brought up their half-centuries with sixes. How's came in 114 minutes, from 83 balls with five fours and a six off Lasith Malinga.
Fulton was also quick, in 77 minutes from 56 balls, with seven boundaries. He also raised his half-century with a six over mid-wicket.
How, 24, opened the New Zealand innings and batted through the dismissals of veterans Lou Vincent (15) and super-sub Nathan Astle (2). Only the absent New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, who scored 90 on debut 12 years ago, has posted a higher score in his first one-day match for New Zealand.
Fleming missed the match after attending the birth of his first child; a girl born in Wellington on Thursday. He will return for the second match of the four-match series on Tuesday in Christchurch.
Fulton, 26, batted with more fluency than How but How's responsibility to open the innings curbed his stroke play. He stayed at the crease for six minutes more than two hours, facing 95 balls and striking eight fours and a six.
His best shots were his pulls past square leg and two superbly timed on-drives through the unguarded area around mid-on.
Fulton, a taller player with a prolific record in domestic first-class matches, played elegantly, striking fours mainly down the ground but equally punishing short-pitched bowling.
"When new guys come into the side you want them to succeed but when two new guys go out and win the game for you it's extraordinary," said New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori.