Zimbabwe v India, 1st ODI, Harare July 24, 2013

The umpires exchange red for blue

Plays of the Day from the first match between Zimbabwe and India, in Harare

The googly
Zimbabwe have a crop of promising young legspinners at the moment, with Tino Mutombodzi, Natsai Mushangwe and Graeme Cremer all vying for selection, but none of them bowl the googly with nearly as much guile as Amit Mishra. Zimbabwe certainly had some trouble picking his variations, and it was Mishra who snapped a tenacious opening stand when he ripped one in past Vusi Sibanda's defensive poke in the 22nd over. He was at it again later, dispatching an aggressive Hamilton Masakadza with one that went the wrong way and struck middle stump.

The bowling change
A problem that plagued Kohli during his short spell as stand-in captain in the Caribbean, particularly on his captaincy debut against Sri Lanka, was effective rotation of his bowlers. There wasn't nearly as much pressure exerted by Zimbabwe's cautious batsmen in the opening ODI, but Kohli got his changes right and the tactical introduction of Suresh Raina's offspin was particularly successful. Sean Williams, usually a deft player of spin, had handled Mishra's offerings with aplomb but encountered the same problem that so many left-hand batsmen do when Raina came round the stumps to him. Williams played for turn, but there was none and he was bowled through the gate. It was the only over Raina bowled in the game, and the change worked a treat for Kohli.

The costume change
India and Zimbabwe's one-day kits could hardly be more different, in bold red and blue. When the match began this morning, Umpires Oxenford and Tiffin's crimson shirts contrasted India's outfits in the field, but had they remained in the same shirts in the afternoon they would have blended in a little too well with the Zimbabwe fielders, potentially confusing the batsmen. The similarity necessitated a costume change, with Oxenford and Tiffin officiating the second half of the game in sky blue tops.

The drop
Sikandar Raza made a succession of starts in his debut series against Bangladesh in May, without ever being able to convert them, and he might have continued in the same vein had he not been gifted a life by Virat Kohli when he'd made just 28. A crease-bound Raza pushed his bat out at a flighted one from Ravindra Jadeja and the outside edge flew at knee-height to Kohli's right. The India captain shelled the chance, and Raza made the most of the opportunity to reach a maiden international half-century.

The set-up
The cover drive has served Shikhar Dhawan well in his short international career, and it appeared that he'd punish Zimbabwe's bowlers for feeding him outside off stump when he flayed two boundaries through and over cover point in Kyle Jarvis' third over. In Jarvis' next over, Brendan Taylor tinkered with the field, moving Hamilton Masakadza from slip to gully and back to slip, adjusting Sean Williams' angle at point and bringing Vusi Sibanda into a very short cover-point position. The set-up suggested that Jarvis would continue to plug away outside off, but instead he dug in a short, quick delivery that rushed Dhawan and was top-edged to Malcom Waller at fine leg.

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    @CricketMaan. For the long run, Rohit is an ideal No.4. Zim tour is an ideal opportunity to try out both Pujara and Rayudu as openers. In those matches Rohit can come into the middle -- his original slot! Rohit, as you said, is NOT the ideal choice for opening, for the long run.

    By the way, both Pujara & Rayudu have played as openers, in the past. In fact, in the under -19 World cup. DK & Dhoni used to be the openers. So, Virat has three guys who can be tested out, in place of Rohit.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    @ Loved Fans of Indian Cricket: I am not criticizing, I am telling about the conditions (pitch). I am an Indian and I always proud of my country. Winning is always a sweet feeling in my heart. At that time some fact in the pitch that I am trying to tell. Harare wicket is most of time given chasing win. Plz don't misunderstand.

  • Sriram on July 25, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    I still don't see Rohit as a long term opener, i suppose it might change when they find another able partner for Shikar provided the latter learns consistency. Rayudu might fight with Yuvi for that coveted middle order for 2015 WC. Yuvi has to get back to peak fitness and 2015 is most likely his last dig at international cricket and he deserves to be there. Rayudu with his orthodox mixed with aggressive batting might pip DK who hasn't learnt to convert 30s to 70s. Raina will stay, he is not going to make 70s and 100s, he is there to make quick 40s and finish games. Vijay doesnt belong to ODI format and GG is still deep into EGO. That leaves very few openers vying to challenge Rohit or SD. So for now if all goes well it looks like Rohit, SD, VK, YV/AR/DK, Dhoni, SR, RJ, RA, BK, IS, UY. The bowling bench is a worry. While VK, PK, JU, MS, AD will come a go its not clear who can challenge UY and IS? That worry contiues for 2015 WC

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    @Athul There is a seven ODI series between india and australia in oct/nov. Then how come the main players be out of match practise !!!

  • Suhas on July 25, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    @Mirash Mishra Yes Chasing is easy. But if you lost the match then you are telling that India lost to minors Zimbabwe. India hadn't Dhoni, Buvi and some other main batsman. This is like transition time for young Virat and Co. Please give some credit to this win sir. Boys wants your appreciation, not criticism.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    The chasing easy for any team in this wicket. If zimbawe chase the target, they can also win this match.

  • Ashok on July 24, 2013, 19:04 GMT

    Normally India have an off spinner playing to counter the Left handers. In this match, Rasool was dropped in favour of Raina. Hence bringing in Raina for a LH Williams was a good & obvious move. It did work well. Mishra's leg spinners are easier to handle for a LH batsman. In my opinion the best play of the day was fine century by Kohli & his 150 run partnership with Rayudu which made the Zimbabwe total easily achievable. The pitch had very little in it to help the bowlers. Considering this point, Mishra did well to take 3 Wkts. on this batting strip & deserves high credit too.

  • Manny on July 24, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    @Ameet: Is he on the verge of breaking Sachin's record, Last time I checked Kohli has 15 and Sachin has 49.. He is in line and has potential to break Sachin's record.

  • Dummy4 on July 24, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    If Dhoni should return for the south africa tour then it will be a good thing for India , with in form bench players the main teamers will be out of match practice, bhuvi dhoni ashwin ishant umesh all must play some domestic games before they come back to the team. It takes a lot to be the leader of this Indian team and kohli is getting things right. I would like to see pujara mohit sharma and ajinkya rahane get to play the next game

  • Dummy4 on July 24, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    well done young guns....virat is in verge of breaking sachin record of most century in odi.....he is the man to watch out