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Southee slows it down effectively

Pace spearhead identifies key to success on subcontinent as New Zealand eyes first series victory on Indian soil

Fine-tuning his slower ball has made Tim Southee New Zealand's most effective bowler in a one-day international series which sits on a precipice in India.

The teams are locked 2-2 heading into a decider in Visakhapatnam tonight.

Victory would hand the Black Caps their first series win on Indian soil in any format and would also prevent the hosts from claiming New Zealand's No.3 world ranking.

Kohli anchors India to big win

Southee has been a key figure in his team's wins in Delhi and Ranchi, claiming three wickets in each fixture.

His seven scalps for the series is bettered only by the 10 snared by Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

Returning from a foot injury which ruled him out of the 3-0 Test series loss, Southee has adapted to the conditions by injecting more variation into his bowling.

In the 19-run win in Ranchi on Wednesday he claimed middle order pair Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav with successive slower balls to put the brakes on India's run chase.

"Nowadays, with the amount T20s and ODIs that are played, bowlers all have slower balls and a lot of variation in their armoury," he said.

"Most bowlers have a couple. You've always got to look to improve and come up with variations."

Rain has hit the area this week and showers are forecast for the deciding game,  although the groundsman at ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium is predicting a typically hard, bouncy pitch which traditionally offers plenty of runs.

The Black Caps selectors must decide whether to restore batsman Corey Anderson and wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi, who made way in Ranchi for spinners Anton Devcich and Ish Sodhi.

Southee said making history with a series win has the tourists on edge at the end of six tough weeks.

"It's been a long tour for some guys and it would be nice to finish on what would be a high note."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith