Mishra's googly bamboozles Zimbabwe
In the second match, Virat Kohli stood his ground after chipping a low catch to Malcolm Waller at mid-on. Though Waller claimed the catch, it took a second look from the television umpire to send Kohli on his way. Today, Kohli's opposite number Brendan Taylor was the one to stand his ground. Taylor had attempted to clear mid-off with a lofted drive, but toe-ended the shot to present Mohammad Shami with a tough chance. The fielder managed to get a couple of fingers underneath the ball just above the turf, but Taylor stayed at the wicket until several replays, from multiple angles, confirmed his dismissal.
Zimbabwe's No. 9 Tendai Chatara had batted twice in ODIs before this match, without ever scoring a run. Today, he was off the mark with four of them, thanks to an overthrow, and played the shot of the innings in the 40th over when he hooked an attempted bouncer from Vinay Kumar over deep square leg for six to give the home side's supporters something to cheer about.
Amit Mishra has taken nine wickets in three matches so far, and six of them have come via the googly. Brendan Taylor has suggested that his team-mates can pick the variation, though some apparently pick it better than others. Waller has fallen twice to the delivery, and today he was nipped out first ball by one that spun back in past his poking bat to strike his pads in front of middle stump. His dismissal left Mishra on a hat-trick, but for the second time in two matches an Indian bowler was denied that milestone.
Zimbabwe never had much chance of defending 183 on a benign surface, but debutant Michael Chinouya didn't look like he was going to let a heavy defeat completely ruin his first day of international cricket. Chinouya was given some consolation with the wicket of Rohit Sharma, caught behind, as his first and after the edge was pouched, he set off on a John Cena-inspired celebratory run, waving four fingers in front of his face as he was mobbed by his team-mates.
The white flag
The match ended in a flurry of boundaries, particularly off the bat of Virat Kohli, but it was Suresh Raina who hit the winning runs for India. Kohli had levelled the scores with a single to square leg off Tendai Chatara, who then offered Raina the friendliest of leg-stump half-volleys. If anything, Brian Vitori's fielding effort at fine leg was even friendlier. He raised the white flag by trotting half-heartedly after the ball and escorting it to the boundary without a thought of a dive. The ball trickled over the rope, and with that the series was India's.
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town