Quite what that total was worth was hard to judge with both captains referring to the “unknown” conditions at a venue hosting international cricket for the first time since 2004, and it appeared a tough surface on which to find timing, but New Zealand would have been disappointed by the number of batters who couldn’t convert starts.
Devon Conway, Kane Williamson and Tom Latham all worked hard to get into the 40s before falling to spin, the latter two to Maxwell who struck three times in his third and final spell. Maxwell finished with the second-best figures of his ODI career and the last 10 overs for New Zealand read 60 for 6 with Josh Hazlewood also bagging three at the death.
After New Zealand had been inserted, Martin Guptill was given caught behind to the last ball of the opening over from Mitchell Starc but immediately reviewed and replays showed he had hit his pad.
However, Guptill could not get going – the six runs he scored came off the first two balls of the game – as he was tied down by Starc and Hazlewood, who both bowled maidens to him. Then, in the fifth over, Guptill drove, getting a thick outside edge towards backward point where Maxwell pulled off his stunning piece of fielding, diving full length to his left to grab a chance that appeared destined to elude him.
Spin was on in the ninth over from Adam Zampa followed by Maxwell for the 10th and after the opening powerplay New Zealand’s top order had soaked up 50 dots balls.
Conway’s early caution began to get rewarded when he danced down to Cameron Green to loft him over cover for six. He had given himself an excellent foundation when he swept at Zampa and was lbw, the review he called for coming up as three reads.
Having barely nudged four an over for much of the first half of the innings there was a sign of a gear-change from Williamson when he took on Green, flicking him over midwicket for six then driving down the ground, which was followed by Latham sending Starc over the leg-side boundary. However, right on the 30-over mark Williamson departed when he toe-ended a slog-sweep against Maxwell to deep midwicket.
Latham and Daryl Mitchell built steadily through the next 10 overs to leave New Zealand 172 for 3 after 40 and with a chance to finish strongly with wickets in hand. However, Maxwell derailed those plans when he removed both set betters in the 42nd over – Mitchell chipping to midwicket and Latham sweeping – before adding Michael Bracewell in his next over.
As they did in the second ODI in Barbados on their recent tour of West Indies, New Zealand will have to defend superbly under lights.