New Zealand v India, 3rd ODI, Auckland January 25, 2014

McCullum rues one that got away

When MS Dhoni got out, India needed 131 with four wickets and 86 deliveries left. Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin's half-centuries ended up tying the match, and Brendon McCullum admitted it was "potentially" one that got away. New Zealand were so close to sealing the series with what looked like a third successive victory but it was not to be, and McCullum praised India for their fightback.

"A great game of cricket. It ebbed and flowed the whole way through that second innings," McCullum said. "Credit to India, when they looked as if they were out of the game, they flexed their muscle a little bit and got themselves back into it. And just when we thought we had it again, obviously they came back. The innings that Jaddu played at the end was pretty awesome.

"We had our chances, there is no doubting that. Definitely had our chances - a few catches and a few run-out opportunities and a few things - but it is a tough one. It was a great game of cricket to be involved in, just disappointing that didn't get the result in the end but a tie is a tie."

McCullum said New Zealand were pretty sure Jadeja had nicked Mitchell McClenaghan behind in the 47th over when he was given not out. But while he felt there was little New Zealand could do about it, he said his bowlers could have bowled better at the death.

"Our plan was very much to keep the ball out of Jadeja's arc and we obviously got hit for a couple of sixes straight towards the end there. The wicket was pretty slow, so obviously a little bit tough to use that short-ball tactic to the effect that we have so far in this series. When you don't win, you obviously question a couple of things but I still thought we were pretty good without being top draw."

India needed 18 off the final over, and New Zealand only had allrounder Corey Anderson as the seam option as the specialist quick bowlers were done with their quota. McCullum said that was because he had used someone like Tim Southee to try and take wickets earlier, and added he had enough belief in Anderson to give him the 50th over.

"It's not always going to work, poor fellow sitting in there at the moment is a bit upset but it's the nature of having those opportunities in the death as well. He again learnt a lot tonight about bowling and seems to me that he is learning quicker than anyone in international cricket about batting and bowling at the moment. We will keep backing him, he did a great job for us today with the ball and gave us the opportunity to win the game and whilst he didn't close it out, I thought he did a really good job and he will learn a lot from it.

"Obviously Tim is another death bowler for us but at that stage of the game, we were looking for wickets. We knew that if we kept taking wickets, then we were going to be in with a pretty good chance of winning the game. Corey is one of our options at the death. So is Tim, Mitch as well. We have used Kane (Williamson) at the death at times as well.

"It's about how the game plays out based on when you need wickets, when you need to push and when you need to hold back. Today we were pushing and hence we went to Southee a little earlier and left Corey at the end. Even Nathan had to bowl pretty deep into the innings, under the circumstances when you are chasing wickets."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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