Zimbabwe v India, 3rd ODI, Harare July 28, 2013

India saunter to series victory


India 187 for 3 (Kohli 68*) beat Zimbabwe 183 (Williams 45, Mishra 4-47) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

India's current tour of Zimbabwe has parallels with the visit to the southern African country for a tri-series in 2010 - a squad filled with newcomers led by a stand-in captain. Three years ago, that young India team had found the tri-series to be a taxing trek, losing three of four matches to crash out before the finals. This time around, though, it has been a casual stroll to a series victory, confirmed by an utterly one-sided third ODI which Zimbabwe lost by seven wickets.

Teams winning the toss have enjoyed a huge advantage in this series, and today was no different as Virat Kohli called correctly and watched his bowlers wipe out Zimbabwe for 183. Even reaching that meagre score reflected a recovery for Zimbabwe, who had been at 89 for 6 in the 23rd over, and had three tail-enders, who had shown little aptitude for batting, to come. Amit Mishra's variations fetched him four wickets, and the chase was orchestrated by Kohli, who continues to find ODI cricket exceedingly easy.

The winter pitch at the Harare Sports Club has followed the same pattern in every match this series: assisting the seamers appreciably in the first hour before gradually easing up. Vusi Sibanda clearly hadn't learnt that, though, charging out and attempting a wild heave in the first over itself, predictably edging a catch towards extra cover. After that Vinay Kumar strike, it was Mohammed Shami's turn to break through, on his first ball, when he got Sikandar Raza to nick to the wicketkeeper.

With the ball hooping around, Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza survived a bunch of lbw calls and were routinely beaten but hung on. Taylor could have been run-out a couple of times but he didn't attempt any risky shots, the first sign of enterprise being a controlled pull for four off Vinay in the ninth over. Masakadza was content driving through the off side, didn't play across the line much, and the pair shepherded Zimbabwe to the relative security of 67 for 2 in the 16th over.

The first hour had been seen off, and Zimbabwe were looking forward to more comfortable batting conditions. However, Jaydev Unadkat, India's best seamer in the previous game, ended the stand, getting Taylor to chip a catch to mid-off.

Then, the India spinners took over. Zimbabwe have poked and prodded against them, regularly beset by doubts over how much the ball will spin and in which direction. Mishra's mix of legspinners, googlies, sliders and seam-up deliveries have proved too much for Zimbabwe and he has prospered in his first stint in the ODI team in two years. He continued to enjoy himself today as in his first over, he had Masakadza caught-behind and trapped Malcolm Waller lbw to be on a hat-trick. He didn't get one but the double-blow wrecked Zimbabwe's chances of making a big score.

Sean Williams and Prosper Utseya arrested the slide with a 36-run stand but Williams seemed to lose his composure once Utseya fell in the 33rd over. He looked to take as much of the strike as he could, given that Tendai Chatara, Brian Vitori and Michael Chinouya are not known for their batting skills. In a gamble to retain the strike, he took on a throw from Ravindra Jadeja at midwicket, but the powerful and accurate return caught him short.

A quick end to the Zimbabwe innings seemed imminent but the bottom three weren't about to throw their wickets away. Chatara's hook for six off Vinay was the highlight as the tail extended Zimbabwe's innings by more than 11 overs before Mishra returned to polish them off.

Faced with a small target and a placid pitch, India weren't too troubled during the chase, and there were never any doubts over which side was heading for victory. Rohit Sharma played a few eye-catching strokes before falling cheaply for the third time in the series. His opening partner Shikhar Dhawan looked set to extend his recent golden run as he feasted on the loose deliveries on offer, but after racing to 35 off 31, he crashed a length ball straight to cover. Ambati Rayudu was slow to start but just as he got going, he chipped a return catch on 33.

Unlike the others, Kohli didn't throw it away. He was edgy to begin with, but calmly worked the singles early on and with the asking-rate never too far from three an over, he was content to coast along. It was only towards the end, with the result almost guaranteed, that he opened out and hurried India past the finish line, completing their sixth successive ODI victory.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on July 30, 2013, 19:23 GMT

    @Anand Jakhotia: I am seeing a comment from you for the first time. Welcome. Most fans comment on game improvement & are generally polite. Some like to comment on the overall performance whilst others like to comment on which individual player performances. It is natural for fans to comment at glaring exclusions or inclusions of certain players from the XI. This has happened many times & will keep happening. For matches against teams like Zimbabwe, the Selectors send talented untried players with the hope that these guys will get a chance to prove their talent. Many Fans get disappointed & rattled when these guys are still benched & I am one such fan. In many past tours the same XI has played right thru' the series whilst 4 or 5 players had were bored to tears on the bench. Any comments in this regard is appealing to the XI Selectors to be more considerate. Those commenter who played lot of Cricket & were at some stage in such position understand it much better.

  • Pravin on July 30, 2013, 14:38 GMT

    @Anand Jakhotia I believe Cricinfo's already is doing a good job at screening comments, sometimes in sensitive times/issues they even get one step further, believe me..once or twice i wrote comments which were not even mildly offensive and were yet not published. Why I believe they are doing a good job? because I've never seen offensive comments here. To see how crappy comments can be pls visit some other sites.

    In live commentary I have hardly ever seen a personal comment, most of the times the comments are tongue in cheek and actually increase reading experience. I sometimes check commentaries of completed matches just to read these comments.

    Personal comments..commenting on anyone cricketing abilities, or believing that the one player is better than other is hardly personal. We are all passionate people wanting our team to do well, we have no personal friendship/grudge with anyone we say what we believe is best for our team. This is one site where I read & enjoy even the comment

  • Naresh on July 30, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    @anand jakhotia - Agree with you on comments during live commentaries. Also comments with no objectives e.g. A SL commented that Zimbabwe would thrash India badly before the ODI's commenced - this sort of ridiculous comment should not make the blogs. Constructive criticisms and comments should be accepted. Genuine personnel hatred against players should be avoided - for one that sort is not going to change the selectors or team managements views. Its a waste of space.

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    Advisory to cricinfo- Sir the comments on your website r becoming extremely personal. even on social commentary during live matches, it seems few persons have formed a syndicate of sort while criticising players which is really disturbing while following live score card. even in ur comments section pls screen comments which r nothing but player bashing. PPL like me who have been following ur website as a genuine cricket fan r finding these comments extremely ridiculous & in bad taste. pls do the needfull. Encourage comments which can add 2 player & sport development.

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    With the series in hand India's best XI for the next two games should be Rahane, Dhawan, Virat, Pujara, Raina, Karthik, Jadeja, Rasool, Unadkat, Shami and Mohit. With this all new lads will get fair chances to prove themselves.

  • Naresh on July 30, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    On the horizon is a new U19 star - Vijay Zol. This guy like Chand has been doing exceptionally well in both Oz and SL. Another is Sanju Sampson. The future looks rozy for batsman, I hope I could say the same for bowlers. I wish India had selected Sandeep Sharma another U19 bowler that did well two years back. Sandeep could have been tested on the Zim/SA tours.

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    @jjradha. Rohit is playing to india. Not for himelf. If he is not playing for india, he must remove india's color. There are so many player are waiting for to play India.We are far from Mumbai. So pls go to Mumbai and ask Shastry, Gavaskar and Manjrekar. Ok.

  • Shakir on July 30, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    I am not sure about if I hate or like Rohit. But I surely disagree with Venu regarding Raina. Rohit has got chance to play almost at every position in top 7. But Raina hardly got a chance to play up the order which he always wanted. So him not scoring many centuries, is absolutely OK I believe. He is an impact player, and is out of form recently. Even with new players, Raina is not promoted to no. 4 at least. Md Kaif was wasted just like him, and now with increased pressure, Raina might be another one.

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2013, 16:17 GMT

    I think we as Indian fans need to chill out and give appreciation to yet another fine performance from the World Champions. Instead, I see too many vague and negative comments about ONE individual - Rohit Sharma. Cricket is a team game and as a team we have been excellent this series. Zimbabwe played really well and challenged our team. So let's celebrate that and give praise to the Indian team as a whole. Enough with the useless comments about 1 player. Learn to appreciate our YOUNG team guys.

  • Swastik on July 29, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    Dhawan, Gambhir, Pujara, Kohli, Raina/Rayudu/Yuvraj, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvi, Unadkat/Irfan, Mohit/Yadav/Shami