India's plan against Latham
Tom Latham's innings in Mumbai was one of the finest played by an overseas player in India. The way he swept the Indian spinners reminded one of Matthew Hayden and Andy Flower. The only place that he didn't target against spin was the long-off region (he had scored only one run towards long-off on Sunday) and it felt that the hosts fielded with only eight men. The Indian bowlers and captain Virat Kohli learnt from that experience, prepared a plan and executed it well. The spinners bowled only a couple of balls within the stumps and constantly had both fine-leg and square-leg inside the circle. The line and the field placement meant the option of padding a single from outside off was cut off, and the only way to find the fence was to go aerial. In addition to that, even after Latham was well set, India had six men inside the circle, which included a fielder at mid-off instead of long-off. The outside-off line forced Latham to walk across all the time and that's where the change of angle from Axar Patel worked. That was the only time Axar went around the wicket and instead of throwing it outside off, he pitched it towards leg and Latham played down the wrong line.
Bhuvneshwar's tight lines
It's a little difficult for a swing bowler to maintain tight lines but Bhuvneshwar Kumar has shown that he's capable of doing so without comprising on his ability to swing the ball bowl both ways. His beehive from today's match was a testament to his accuracy; most bowling coaches tell you to bowl the length that will make the ball hit the top off stump, and he did that consistently. He dismissed Martin Guptill with a ball that was too close to leave but still a little wide to play at and it moved away after pitching. Against Colin Munro he went around the stumps to bowl bouncers and came back over the stumps with a his knuckle ball that tends to float into the left-hand batsman, which accounted for an inside edge. Even for Henry Nicholls, he used the angle from around the stumps and hit the top of the wicket after going through the gate.
De Grandhomme v spin
The arrival of Colin de Grandhomme at No. 7 for New Zealand dispelled any thoughts about the quality of the pitch, for till his arrival India's spinners had a vice-like grip on things. He came out with a positive intent and challenged India's strategy of having more fielders inside the 30-yard circle than was necessary. Two shots that he played against Yuzvendra Chahal and Kedar Jadhav showed his range of shots against spin. Both balls landed at the identical spot but against Chahal he went aerial down the ground and against Jadhav, he whipped the same ball over midwicket. He is also one of the few batsmen who can hit the long ball against spin without leaving the crease and thereby giving no advance notice of his intentions. The ball that dismissed him might have shown the way for Indian spinners to tackle his threat in the future. The ball he got out to was the only one thrown wide, challenging him to go over extra cover while the ball was turning away. The same had plan worked against Glenn Maxwell and it won't be surprising if the same continues to be the plan against de Grandhomme after today's dismissal.
Dhawan's technical adjustments
Tim Southee and Trent Boult present different kinds of challenges and demand a radically different response. Southee brings the ball back into the left-hand batsmen while Boult takes it away. In Mumbai, Shikhar Dhawan stood on the leg stump and didn't shuffle against Southee, keeping his front pad out of harm's way. But the same tactic brought about his downfall against Boult, as he ended up going towards the ball with his hands. In Pune, while he stood on the leg stump for Southee, he stood on middle and off against Boult. In addition to that, he played extremely close to his body with soft hands to the fuller balls, ensuring that the edge didn't carry.
India's No. 4 spot still up for grabs
Since the 2015 World Cup, India have tried more players (11) at No. 4 than any other team in the world. Among them, only Yuvraj Singh has got eight consecutive chances to bat at that position while the rest have got no more than three chances on the trot before the next man in. Manish Pandey had failed twice at No. 4 against Australia, and was pushed down the order for the remaining games in which he got runs. But he is no longer a part of the playing XI now. Kedar Jadhav started at No. 4 in this series but Karthik was sent at that position in the second ODI. Selection isn't only about having faith in a player's ability but, also, faith in your own eye for talent.