New Zealand put in a marginally improved performance in the third one-day international on Monday, 28 January, but there was no stopping India, who took a 3-0 lead to wrap up the five-match series with two games to go.
Perhaps things might have been different for the home side had they built on the foundation laid by Ross Taylor. He came good with a 106-ball 93, but apart from Tom Latham, who scored a half-century, the rest of the batting disappointed.
New Zealand’s total of 243 was sub-par at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, the same venue where India had scored 324 in the second ODI. With Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma scoring half-centuries, the chase was completed in 43 overs for a seven-wicket win.
The pacemen provided the early incision, with Bhuvneshwar and Shami sending back Martin Guptill (13) and Colin Munro (7) to leave New Zealand struggling at 26/2. Kane Williamson, the captain, walked in with good intentions of soaking in the pressure, but after 10 overs and a 48-ball 28, he fell to Chahal, although it was Pandya who was crucial to that wicket, taking a blinder at mid-wicket on a full dive.
It was then that Taylor and Latham got together. The two added 119 for the fourth wicket, and took care to avoid any rush of blood. Taylor, in particular, was cautious, as the duo helped New Zealand recover and took the team total past 100.
New Zealand were outplayed in the three matches so far New Zealand were outplayed in the three matches so far
The boundaries started flowing more frequently, with Taylor hitting consecutive fours off Kedar Jadhav to bring up his half-century, off 71 balls. Latham, a tad more aggressive, reached his own fifty off 61 balls.
The breakthrough came soon after, though, with Latham lobbing Chahal to the fielder at deep mid-wicket. The wicket sparked an implosion. Pandya, impressive on his comeback, first had Henry Nicholls dismissed for six with a slower bouncer, and followed it up by inducing an edge off Mitchell Santner (3).
Taylor battled, picking fours off Shami and Pandya, but when he was caught behind off Shami, an agonising seven short of a century, New Zealand were 222/7. The tail added just 21 more.
Kohli and Rohit added 113 for the second wicket. The runs came regularly, boundaries were never a problem, and apart from Boult, none of the bowlers really threatened the batsmen.
Rohit, very early in the partnership, danced down the track and lofted Santner down the ground for six. It took him just 63 balls to get to his half-century, and he celebrated with another biggie, pulling Lockie Ferguson over square-leg.
in safe hands. The pair found the fence regularly, added 77*, and the chase was wrapped up with minimum fuss.