HAMILTON // Execution is the name of the game for New Zealand as they look to overcome a 2-0 deficit in their one-day series against India. The two sides face off in the fourth one-day international today. India's comprehensive 58-run win in Christchurch on Sunday came on the back of a superb innings of 163 by Sachin Tendulkar, an explosive 60-ball 87 from Yuvraj Singh and 68 off 58 balls by the captain MS Dhoni. But the Indians were helped by plenty of wayward bowling from the New Zealanders with Tim Southee paying the price for conceding 105 runs off his 10 overs.
Iain O'Brien will return to new ball duties with Kyle Mills for the sell-out match at Seddon Park. Ewen Thompson, the all-rounder, has been brought in for the injured Ian Butler, who has been the most impressive of the seamers in the series so far. Mills, a senior bowler in the side, felt not much had gone right on Sunday but that it was the execution that was poor, not the plans themselves. "The plans are pretty good in general it's just we haven't put the ball in the right area and we have suffered the consequences of that," he said.
"Generally when you get hit for four or six off good balls, it's always hard to take but you can take it a lot better than when you just haven't executed," he added. "We've bowled poorly. Half-volleys, short balls, width, they are unacceptable. "Our bowling has probably been our success in the last two to three years so the way we have played in the last three games has been really disappointing."
Mills accepted the blame lay with him as much as the others despite claiming the wickets of Virender Sehwag and Dhoni after a shaky start where he bowled two no balls in his opening over. His figures 2-58 off 10 overs were an improvement from the first game when he went for 69 in just seven overs and was pulled from the attack. "I believe it's just the execution and I have put my hand up. I haven't executed most of the time and I am looking to lead the team when it comes to that," he said.
New Zealand can only level the five-match series after game two was washed out. But they will be relieved that the Indians will be without Tendulkar, who was forced to retire hurt with a stomach muscle strain during his innings on Sunday. "He has been around for 20 years so whenever he doesn't play it's a setback," the India coach Gary Kirsten said. "But this team has enough depth in it and especially from a batting perspective. There are guys who are itching to get on the field to play."
Ishant Sharma, the young fast bowler, could however return. He was expected to bowl in the nets yesterday before facing a final fitness test prior to the match. * PA Sport