'Plans have been solid, but execution is off' – Mitchell Santner

NZ v Ind, news

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Mitchell Santner, the New Zealand all-rounder, said his team will not focus on major tactical overhauls in the remainder of the one-day international series against India. Instead, they'll simply look to execute their plans better.

India have already sealed the series with a 3-0 lead, meaning the fourth game in Hamilton on Thursday, 31 January, will be a matter of saving face for New Zealand, apart from getting their ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 preparations back on track.

India have dominated all departments this series, but Santner believes it looks worse than it is. "​I think the plans have been pretty solid – maybe the execution's been off at times," he said.

"If we can get two wickets in the top 10 [overs], or even the first five. If we can get into their middle order a bit earlier ... every game they've got off to good starts, we haven't seen much of their back end.

"I guess the key for us is to keep taking wickets through the middle, keep being aggressive."

New Zealand might have an easier time of it with India resting Virat Kohli for the remainder of the series, and expected to experiment in the final two ODIs. 

However, New Zealand's problems have been with the bat – they have managed to cross 200 just once so far. "With the bat, it's trying to build those partnerships throughout," Santner said.

"We saw a good one between Ross [Taylor] and Tom [Latham] last game, then we lost a couple and we fell over a bit. They've bowled very well in the top 10 and we haven't really got away. If we can get through the first 10 [overs] with wickets in hand, then set up the back-end where we've got some power hitters, we can get to a pretty good total."

New Zealand's pain has been India's gain, and fielding coach R Sridhar revealed the dead rubbers would be used to test India's bench strength.

Shubman Gill is in line to make his ODI debut in Hamilton
Shubman Gill is in line to make his ODI debut in Hamilton

"Winning is a habit which we would obviously want to continue," Sridhar said on the eve of the Hamilton ODI.

"When you're one-up or three-up against a team, you want to continue with the form. You want to don't want to let down the intensity. At the same time, we also need to give game-time to our reserves.

"There's just seven games remaining for us before we play our first World Cup game. We should not end up in a situation where the main eleven has played and the reserves have not got enough game time, and then suddenly they have to play an important crucial game in the World Cup."

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