Blackcaps vs Sri Lanka: Henry Nicholls savouring more ODI responsibility

Henry Nicholls has plenty to celebrate at the moment.

The Blackcaps batsman had a 2018 to savour, ending the year in Cricinfo's Test Team of the Year, after scoring 658 runs at 73.11 average.

The 27-year-old followed that with a maiden ODI ton against Sri Lanka in Nelson on Tuesday, scoring an 80-ball 124 not out to lead his side to victory and a 3-0 series sweep.

Nicholls has spent most of his 50-over Blackcaps career batting at number six, but with Tom Latham rested, the Cantabrian was promoted one spot for the just-completed series.

Nicholls enjoyed the extra time in the middle, but said it was more important to adjust to the game situation and the team's needs than score big.

"You have to adjust your expectations quite a bit," Nicholls said.

"You always want to make a contribution and a lot of the time, those contributions aren't in the form of fifties or hundreds.

"It's about coming in and generating a strike rate - get 30 off 20 sort of thing.

"For me, I've really enjoyed that role within the team. It's something that I have really embraced and the little bit of extra time you get batting at number five, I have really enjoyed that this series.

"It's a really nice feeling to have contributed to a winning series."

Nicholls shared a crucial 154-run stand with Ross Taylor at Saxton Oval. With the Blackcaps 147/4 more than halfway through their innings, the pair needed to bat most of the remaining overs.

They did just that, with Taylor scoring his 20th ODI century and his sixth 50 in sas many games.

Taylor averaged 97 in 2018, and is second only to Indian supremo Virat Kohli in run production and average since the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

Nicholls said batting with the 34-year-old was a treat, as he kept everything in context - even when the heat went on in the later overs.

"He is such an important part of our one-day side," Nichols said. "The consistency that he has been playing with is just a testament to the quality type of player he has been for so long.

"It's really cool to have been able to bat with him in the middle for a long period and just training with him, I am learning so much."

The Blackcaps head to Auckland for Friday's T20 international against Sri Lanka, before a 10-day break, as they await the arrival of India for ODI and T20 matches.


Join us at 7pm Friday for live updates of the Blackcaps vs Sri Lanka T20 in Auckland.