Zimbabwe v India, 5th ODI, Bulawayo August 3, 2013

Mishra's six sets up 5-0 sweep


India 167 for 3 (Rahane 50, Jadeja 48*) beat Zimbabwe 163 (Williams 51, Mishra 6-48) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

There were hopes that an inexperienced Indian team would narrow the gulf between the two sides, but, contrary to expectations, at the end of five games that gulf widened. India went on to achieve their first 5-0 ODI series sweep away from home following another one-sided contest at Bulawayo. The script wasn't very different from the fourth ODI. Zimbabwe lost the toss, suffered another top-order meltdown, posted a below-par total and watched India's young batsmen bide their time and pile on scores to keep the selectors interested.

Amit Mishra has been in and out of the India squad for the last few years and he had the most to gain from this series, taking 6 for 48 and extending his series tally to 18. Ajinkya Rahane, brought in to replace Rohit Sharma, made good use of his opportunity, making an exact 50. With the series decided after the third game, the remaining matches were nothing more than a selection trial for the A tour of South Africa - many of whom are part of that series - and the tour of South Africa later on.

Without taking any credit away from Mishra, he had the Zimbabwe batsmen to thank for gifting away their wickets with abysmal shot selection, in their last chance to salvage a consolation win. A cold and windy Saturday morning greeted the teams and after Virat Kohli chose to give his bowlers best use of the conditions, it was always a question of survival for the top order. Zimbabwe struggled to get partnerships going and it was left to the middle order to build from scratch. When the sun came out, the specialist batsmen were all back in the pavilion, leaving the tail to negotiate more than 15 overs. The innings lasted just under 40 overs.

With tougher contests coming up for India in the coming months, there would have been a strong case for India batting first in favourable bowling conditions and gaining experience. The second ODI, where they recovered from 65 for 4, was a test of skill and adaptability but the evidence in the last two ODIs suggested that the emphasis was more on capitalising at the toss with a 5-0 sweep in mind.

As expected, the batsmen were nervy at the start. Captain Brendan Taylor's loss of form was a big concern coming into this match, with him averaging just 8.75 in the series, and in his last chance to make amends he departed for a scratchy 11-ball duck. Taylor tried to break free by chasing one from Mohit Sharma outside the off stump, only to edge to second slip. Vusi Sibanda's wicket - caught behind off Jaydev Unadkat - started the procession and Zimbabwe's hopes of turning the corner with the bat were dashed as they lost two wickets within ten overs.

Hamilton Masakadza was positive from the outset, but the drinks break broke his concentration. Ravindra Jadeja cramped him for room and yet, Masakadza decided to cut, only to chop it onto the stumps first ball after the break. The loss of wickets put a stranglehold on the scoring, with as many as nine overs in the first 25 producing just one run.

A poor shot, off an equally bad ball, cost Zimbabwe another wicket. Malcolm Waller shaped to pull a long hop from Mishra and got a top edge that swirled to Mohit at mid-on. Zimbabwe didn't lose a wicket for another ten overs but, for the second time, the first ball after a drinks break produced a wicket. Elton Chigumbura was trapped lbw coming forward to Mishra, who struck again in the over getting Tinotenda Mutombodzi to edge to slip.

Williams was caught off a top edge off Mishra for 51, but it was a shot of frustration more than anything else. Williams was the only batsman who looked like batting through, but the lack of support at the other end must have upset his plans. Mishra cleaned up the tail to equal Javagal Srinath's bilateral-series record haul of 18 against New Zealand in 2002-03, though that was a seven-match series.

The only Indian player to miss out, for the second time, was Cheteshwar Pujara, bowled for the second time in two games, beaten by a beautiful incutter by Kyle Jarvis. Pujara will have a chance to make amends when he leads the A team to South Africa. Jarvis continued to pose questions outside the off stump, getting Shikhar Dhawan to nick to the keeper, halting a brisk knock that gave India an early push before the lunch break.

Rahane's stint should have ended on 7, when the wicketkeeper Taylor fluffed an easy run-out chance with Rahane yards short. He capitalised on that lapse with a steady fifty, driving and pulling with ease. Kohli held himself back again for the sake of a younger player, this time Jadeja. Like Suresh Raina did on Thursday, Jadeja made good use of the promotion, scoring an unbeaten 48 and sealing the series with a six.

The series was good for India's potential replacements. For Zimbabwe, the challenge may only get tougher when Pakistan and Sri Lanka visit later, if they field full-strength sides.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 6, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    With the series over, its time 2 assess d objectives it was meant to acheive as far as the indian cricket is concerned.To be blunt, i think it served only 2 give india caps 2 some of the reserves who were bored on the bench for ages. ppl craving for pujara, rahane might have got some reality check. they should understand that evry player in the team is on his worth rther than any alleged favouritism. And every player will get his due provided he's wiling to hang-on. it applies to the fans as well. The SA tour will seperate the men from the boys. so lets wait.

  • Dummy4 on August 6, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    @rajneesh aggarwal, what makes u feel that rohit sharma cant play bouncers well. u r comments r laughable. which planet do u come from. seems u r new to cricket. for ur info buddy, if any current player who can negotiate bounce very well, then it is rohit sharma. As for pujara, with due respect, agreed he needs 2 b given maximum chances, but dont pass comments on other players without proper assessment. so next time, think before u ink any comment.

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    Donot understand the obsession behind Rasool....who is he..a legend!!!, lots n lots of players are there who had warmed the bench for a long periods before getting there debut chance...Rasool n his well wishers, should wait patiently, if he's really that much capable, he would get his chance one way or the other...even Rishi Dhawan Of HP has better figures than Rasool in domestic cricket, but he wasn't awarded with opportunity.

    Fisrt n foremost, celebrate the success of our eam against Zim, we have good batting, bowling n fielding side in ODI's continue that in Test as well

  • rajnish on August 4, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    Congrats to Misra. He can be included in place of R Ashwin. India should give more chances to Pujara to establish himself in ODI. In 2015 world cup to be held in Australia and Newzealand, Indian team may find it difficult to playout full quota of 50 overs and there Pujara will be badly needed. Rohit Sharma, Raina are not that good in negotiating bouncers. Only Kohli and Dhoni can play the bouncers confidently. So Pujara is a must in Australia. Misra will also be very useful in bigger grounds of Australia just like L Sivaramakrishnan was. Ravindra Jadeja will always remain Mr. Dependable. By opting to field first particularly after leadig the series 3-0 against Zimbabwe, India lost the opportunity to give its batsmen practice of playing out full 50 overs and try to score 300 plus score on the board. Still Rayudu and Rahane displayed good batting. Dhawan and kohli are already in good form to add to the strength of Dhoni

  • ZCF on August 4, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    Fortunately or unfortunately I was rather distracted from properly catching this one live due to the celebrations on the sidelines. Have recovered from that hangover to go through the match. Nothing has changed.

    First up I was impressed by a wounded seamer fighting for his spot for the next series, against a disinterested batting order under zero pressure. Chigumbura's unusually inexpensive&effective start with the used ball - against a settled top batsman kindly let off by Taylor off Vitori - spared me from jumping to conclusions.

    Raza was dropped instead of Malcolm, but the new batsman Maruma was like him sacrificed up the order ahead of Malcolm&Williams. The former continuing to fail in that softer middle order spot.

    Williams once again showed his potential. Elton&Maruma suffered from the umpiring but I doubt if a potential 240 runs, had that not been the case, would've troubled these Indians!

    0-5! I didn't expect it. Well done India. Bright future for you. Who will stop you!?

  • venkatasubramanian on August 4, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    Posted by Venkat Sraman(August 4,2013) It was a ODI series sweep for India in the five matches played against Zimbabwe.Team India outplayed thoroughly Zimbabwe in all departments of the game.This once again proves their supremacy in ODI tournaments. Amit Mishra, man of the match in the last one, was the pick of the bowler in this series, for having taken 18 wickets,which equals the same number of wickets taken by Javgal Srinath in the seven match ODI series against New Zealand during 2002-03.

  • Jayaesh on August 4, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    Leave aside the fact entire series was a mismatch, totally one sided, forget about the poor camera coverage and lack of any speed guns, forget about the lack of any crowds at any of the venues, what stood out was why even after securing the series 3-0 Indian team failed to utilise all 15 squad players, why were Raina and Shikhar Dhawan , Jadeza even selected for this series, are they not established in this format arleady, have we learnt anything new about them ??

    Why after securing the series India still opted to bowl first in last two matches ?? batting first would have tested our batters more and given them the chance to bat 50 overs and score 280 plus and in process giving top 5 batters much larger time at crease.In last 2 mtches even Kohli should have rested and Rohit should have captained, he captained Mumbai Indians in last IPL .

    Zimbabwe were so poor in the series that forget about our A team even our u-19 boys would have beaten them !!!

  • Altaf on August 4, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    This series against Zim was clearly considered as to test youngsters. Even after they won 3-0, they could have allow all 15 to show their potentials and so Rasool. This is completely injustice to him and not point to ignore. To judge youngsters was higher priority then to win the series even before it started, and everyone knew that. Then why he got exclusion ?

  • Dummy4 on August 4, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Rasool not given a chance against Zimbabwe and that too in a dead series ,Then when?

  • siddhartha on August 4, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    India should have played Rasool. India is going to play against South Africa and England in 2014. Ashwin will be out of team after South Africa team and Mishra after England.Damn we need a third spinner.