Kumble, Harbhajan bowl India to a comprehensive win over Zimbabwe

Anand Vasu

February 25, 2002

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Harbhajan Singh has bowled without luck this whole Test. The ball has beaten the edge consistently, batsmen have played and missed... Everything but the wicket it seemed for the offie. The final day's play saw the tide turn. Dame Luck smiled on the man who scalped 32 Australian wickets in three Tests. With four Zimbabwean wickets, Harbhajan Singh was the star on the final day at Nagpur, leading India to an innings and 101-run triumph in the first Test.

Resuming on 152/4, Zimbabwe lost nightwatchman with just 4 runs added to the total. Inside edging one from Harbhajan onto his pads, Price presented Dravid with a dolly of a catch.

Anil Kumble is the kind of bowler who can start a day, right at the top of his rhythm. Bowling an impeccable line and length - being full rather than short even when he erred - Kumble got a quick googly to slip past Grant Flower's bat. When the ball struck the pad, umpire Venkat's finger immediately went up, although replays suggested that the ball might have been missing the off stump. Grant Flower made just 1.

By this stage a keen contest was on - not between bat and ball, but between Kumble and Harbhajan. The offie pulled one back, having Trevor Gripper caught at silly mid on by substitute Virender Sehwag. Gripper's patient 211-ball 60 had come to an end.

Tatenda Taibu may not have impressed with the bat, but his attitude certainly deserves mention, and a pat on the back. The young man, on edging one to the close-in fielder on the onside, `walked', making the umpire's job easier. His duck, however, did the Zimbabwe cause no good with the visitors slumping to 167/8. Harbhajan Singh now had three wickets to Kumble's four.

Heath Streak and Travis Friend have both played some dogged innings in the past, especially against India. With so many overs left to play out on a wicket aiding spin, however, Streak decided there was no point hanging around. Taking the attack to the spinners, Streak managed to hit one glorious stroke to the on side fence before becoming Kumble's fifth scalp of the innings. Streak (8) provided Ganguly with an easy catch after being surprised by a Kumble delivery that bounced a bit more.

It was all over for Zimbabwe in the 89th over of the innings. Harbhajan finished with four wickets for the innings when he sent Brighton Watambwa packing and Zimbabwe slumped to an innings and 101-run loss. With the win, India lead the two-Test series 1-0.

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