Ton of frustration for new centurions

New Zealand's new breed of centurions might be starting to ponder what it takes to convert a maiden one-day cricket hundred into a match-winning one.

Martin Guptill, Grant Elliott and Jesse Ryder have each reached three figures for the first time this summer -- but none have translated into a New Zealand victory.

Guptill could at least blame Auckland's fickle weather after he made a classy unbeaten 122 against the West Indies at Eden Park on January 10 to become the first New Zealander to score an ODI century on debut.

New Zealand scored 275 from their 50 overs but a West Indies chase spearheaded by Chris Gayle never really got going before showers forced an abandonment for the second time in that series.

South African-born Elliott joined century makers at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground though his 115 from 124 balls was insufficient to secure New Zealand what would have been an unassailable 3-0 advantage in last month's Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series.

Australia won by 32 runs after posting 301 and then won in Adelaide to square the ledger and retain the silverware because the Brisbane finale was rained out with New Zealand in sight of victory.

Ryder joined them in Christchurch last night when an audacious hitting display with Brendon McCullum gave New Zealand early hope of achieving the second biggest successful run-chase in ODI history.

However, the attempt to overhaul India's 392 for four ended 58 runs short despite a 166-run stand for the opening wicket.

McCullum compiled a controlled 71 from 68 balls while Ryder adopted the role of outright aggressor. He brought up his fifty off 36 balls and maintained an identical strike rate to double his score.

He eventually made 105 from 80 balls, his flow interrupted by the unfortunate run out of McCullum that heralded the start of a top order collapse.

Ryder's breakthrough innings was also negated by one of the game's greats.

The peerless Sachin Tendulkar smashed 163 and threatened score the first ODI double hundred in history until he retired hurt with tender stomach muscles.

"In most games Jess' innings would win you the game," McCullum said.

"I thought he was fantastic the way he played with a such a still base and quite a relaxed attitude.

"He'll take a lot of confidence from that."

New Zealand head coach Andy Moles agreed.

"We saw him look to score all around the wicket, it was fantastic to see," he said.

"In the past he's perhaps looked leg side only and got out trying to pull across the line."

Ryder, as Taylor, Guptill and Elliott before him stands to reap the benefits of a reassuring innings.

For Moles, though, the novelty of contributing centuries that do not correspond with wins was wearing off.

"We don't want to be entertaining and get close, we need some dirty wins."

NZP

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