Thiruvananthapuram: As the covers were dragged into action over the untested surface of the Sports Hub at Karyavattom, following heavy rains that lashed the city Monday morning, both teams were forced to postpone their inspections until game-day.
However, the visitors have claimed that they are unperturbed by the mystery of the wicket beneath the canvas and would wait till the last hour to fix a gameplan that suits the playing conditions for Tuesday’s decider. “It is tough because you don’t have much feedback on the surface,” said New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner, who has been impressive whole series.
“We’re going to have a look at it tomorrow (match day) and plan accordingly. We have prepared for another twenty20 game and we will look at the conditions and pick the right team. We hope the outfield drains fast so that we can have a full game,” said the left-arm spinner.
A highlight of the Kiwis’ tour has been the impressive combination of Santner and his Ludhiana-born spin partner Ish Sodhi. While the visiting pair has been more consistent compared to Axar and Chahal, Santner believes the secret lies in “keeping it simple”.
“I guess the length has been the key thing and Ish and I have bowled quite well. I think he pulled the length back and made it hard for them and I did something similar. “I think I try to read the batsman’s intentions and keep it simple but twenty twenty is such a fickle game. Obviously we will have to change our length according to the surface we get.”
The visitors are desperate to shed their tag of being chokers at the final hurdle and Santner feels forcing a formidable India into a decider on their soil shows they’ve made significant improvements. “Last year we didn’t put up a performance like we would’ve wanted. But we are playing pretty good cricket at the moment.”