The umpires exchange red for blue
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.
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 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