Martin Guptill of New Zealand bats during the fourth international one day match against the West Indies at Saxton Oval in Nelson. (AFP Photo)
Opener Martin Guptill struck early for New Zealand with an 81 to help the hosts reach 285-6 on Saturday in the fourth one-day international against the West Indies.
Guptill came into the match out of form, having made only six runs in the two completed matches of the series to date.
He took 41 balls to hit his first boundary - a straight six off spinner Nikita Miller which took him from 8 to 14. But he then shared partnerships of 56 with Jesse Ryder (47), 88 with Kane Williamson (47) and 59 with Ross Taylor (49) to give New Zealand a hefty first innings score.
The ODI series is locked at 1-1 after the West Indies won the first match by two wickets and New Zealand won the third by 159 runs. The second match was abandoned because of rain.
The West Indies bowlers performed well early on, particularly opener Jason Holder, and the New Zealanders - who had battered 283 runs from 21 overs in the third match at Queenstown - were forced to scratch for runs.
Ryder, who scored a century from 46 balls in the previous match, tried to be aggressive and took his 47 runs from 49 balls with seven sixes. But even he found run-scoring to be difficult on a pitch that was slower than the one in Queenstown.
The West Indies could have contained New Zealand to a much greater extent, but dropped catches and poor fielding undermined a solid bowling effort. Ryder was dropped twice in four balls, on 12 and 14, and McCullum (14) was dropped on the first ball.
Guptill set the tone of the New Zealand innings by taking the majority of his runs down the ground. He had been out of the New Zealand team for several months before the current series began because of injuries and the lack of match play hurt him in his innings at Auckland (5) and Queenstown (1).
He was clearly frustrated early on Saturday but his first six gave him confidence and he began scoring more consistently, first through singles and then with a trickle of boundaries.
He batted for 167 minutes, facing 119 balls and hitting just four fours and two sixes. By the time he was out, New Zealand was 203-3.
Taylor stayed on after Guptill was dismissed and added 50 runs in two short partnerships with McCullum and Corey Anderson before he was run out, one short of his half century.
Holder took 1-58 from his 10 overs and captain Dwayne Bravo took 3-25 from seven.