Blackcaps v India: Reason revealed behind costly decision to bowl first, as hosts clinch series sweep

A conversation with local groundstaff has persuaded the Blackcaps to take a gamble - and pay the price - a series whitewash defeat and the top spot in world one-day rankings.

Stand-in NZ captain Tom Latham won the toss and elected to bowl first in the third match at Indore, after discussions with the locals suggested the wicket would become easier to bat on.

But after sending Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill in to bat, their decision quickly backfired, as the pair put on a brutal 212-run opening stand.

The Blackcaps bowlers had few answers to the onslaught, with incoming quick Jacob Duffy conceding an incredible 100 runs off his 10 overs.

Fellow fast bowler Blair Tickner and spinner Michael Bracewell didn't fair much better, as India set New Zealand a mammoth 386 to win.

Even if the pitch had become easier to bat on, the sheer size of that target made for a tough run chase, with only opener Devon Conway offering any reprieve with another brilliant century.

Devon Conway.
Devon Conway. Photo credit: Getty Images

"The discussion we had, the information we had, was that dew might certainly play a factor here, talking to the ground staff yesterday," he said.

"They said, 'When you bat under lights at night time, it certainly gets a lot easier and a lot flatter to bat on'.

"Personally, I obviously felt the wicket was really nice to bat on. It was coming on nicely and there wasn't a heap amount of spin out there, so we just missed a trick in terms of building more partnerships and putting their bowlers under pressure for a long period of time."

The defeat sees the Blackcaps drop to fourth in the one-day rankings, with the World Cup in India fast approaching in October.

Despite the series whitewash, Conway is excited by what he's seen from the young bowlers, in the absence of several senior players like Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson.

"We obviously know the absence of Boulty and Timmy Southee is massive for us. They are very experienced bowlers and they've been playing for us for a long period of time.

"On the flip side, I think it's given a lot of good opportunities for younger guys to come through and also learn against a quality Indian line-up.

"You look at their team and their line-up, and we know that they are very successful, certainly in their home conditions.

"For our younger guys to come in, and try and learn on the go has been special for them, and they will take those learnings moving forward."

Latham echoes Conway's comments and while disappointed with the defeat, he believes it will bode well for the future.

"The start with the ball wasn't great and we did well to bring them back to 380," he said. "It doesn't sound right, but it is, and then to be bowled out in 40 overs didn't go right for us. 

"It's our last experience in India before the World Cup, so the guys are exposed to these conditions in the three games and hopefully it'll be helpful in October. 

"We're building depth in this group, without Southee and others. Fingers crossed about my form for the World Cup. 

"Hopefully, we can take the learnings for the T20 series."