New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner on Monday revealed that the secret behind his fine record against India’s MS Dhoni was to bowl just back of length that kept the former India captain quiet in the second T20I at Rajkot on Saturday.

“Dhoni is a very good player of spin and seam bowling. I guess at the start I try to keep it simple. I try to pull the length up and tuck him up a little bit. Also, I try to read the batsman as much as possible,” Santner said.

A back of a length delivery is one that pitches just short of good length but not any shorter.

Santner and fellow Kiwi spinner Ish Sodhi made optimum use of length as they kept the India batsmen in check through the game. The duo has used the technique effectively through the series and made life difficult for the India’s batsmen.

“Lengths have been the key thing. Ish bowled a superb length, pulled it back and made it hard for the Indian batsmen to hit. I tried to do something pretty similar. Axar (Patel) and Yuzvendra Chahal bowled really well in Delhi. I thought they were unlucky in the last game. We have to change our lengths accordingly. We have to wait and see,” said Santner.

Ahead of Tuesday’s clash, Santner said, “We like to treat this is like another game. It is better than being two-nil down. We are excited about it.”

With the Indians under pressure leading into the decider, does it give the Kiwis a good opportunity of winning the series?

“India have played very good cricket for a long time now in your conditions. They are tough to beat. We have taken it to the decider in the last two series.

“Both teams will want to win. They played well in Kanpur under pressure as well (to win the ODI series). We will turn up [on Tuesday] and put up a good performance and try to take the series.”