India sweep to innings victory
India 554 (Laxman 140, Ganguly 101, Dravid 77, Pathan 52, Mahwire 4-92) beat Zimbabwe 279 (Taibu 71*, Duffin 56, Pathan 5-58) and 185 (Taibu 52, Pathan 4-53, Harbhajan 4-59) by an innings and 90 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
India duly applied the finishing touches to the first Test on the fourth morning at Bulawayo, wrapping up the four remaining Zimbabwean wickets in slightly less than two hours to romp home to victory by an innings and 90 runs and go 1-0 up in the two-match series. Zimbabwe did stretch their second innings to 185, thanks to two useful partnerships for the seventh and tenth wickets, but that only delayed the inevitable. Harbhajan Singh, freed of the pressure of looking for his 200th scalp, took three of the wickets - all when bowling round the wicket - to take his career tally to 203, while Anil Kumble chipped in with the vital scalp of Tatenda Taibu, who finished as Zimbabwe's top-scorer in both innings.
The morning began encouragingly for Zimbabwe, though, as Andy Blignaut and Taibu dispatched the bowlers to all parts in an enterprising 43-run stand for the seventh wicket. Blignaut had put away all his strokes in the closet in the first innings, labouring to 4 off 33 balls, but with the result of a match not in doubt any longer, he freely launched into his shots: Harbhajan's second ball of the day was spanked through point, and when he returned after brief spells by the seamers, Blignaut celebrated by caressing a four through cover before smoting him past midwicket.
Taibu was more restrained, but he still squeezed out a couple of fours square on the off side off Irfan Pathan, who was warned for running onto the danger area of the pitch in only his second over of the day.
With the seamers so ineffective, Sourav Ganguly quickly opted for a double-spin attack, and Harbhajan struck soon after, beating Blignaut's attempted drive with a well-flighted delivery. Taibu brought up his half-century - his second of the match - with a glorious cover-drive off Kumble, but Kumble soon got his own back with a superb delivery which spun, bounced, and kissed Taibu's gloves on the way to Dinesh Karthik, who pouched a neat catch. Taibu had been out on the field for more than 15 of the 18 hours on the first three days, and once again showed himself to be the one truly consistent, classy player in a ragged Zimbabwe outfit.
Harbhajan's doosra turned out to be too much for Keith Dabengwa to fathom, but Gavin Ewing and Blessing Mahwire then frustrated the Indians, keeping them out in the field longer than they might have anticipated. Ewing survived a chance at short leg early on, and reacted by smashing the spinners around: Harbhajan was tonked for a straight four, then carted to the midwicket and cover boundaries. Kumble wasn't spared either, being driven down the ground and then cut behind point.
Mahwire was more predictable, shuffling back and squirting the ball behind square for singles. The partnership had added 47, when Harbhajan finally trapped Ewing on the back foot. The last five wickets had added 167, but the top-order collapse meant that the result was a foregone conclusion much before the last wicket fell.
Andy Blignaut b Harbhajan 26 (110 for 7)
Played down the wrong line while attempting a drive and bowled through the gate
Tatenda Taibu c Karthik b Kumble 52 (130 for 8)
Gloved one which turned and bounced more than expected
Keith Dabengwa lbw b Harbhajan 8 (138 for 9)
Flummoxed by the doosra, which beat the drive and hit the back pad
Gavin Ewing lbw b Harbhajan 34 (185 all out)
Nailed plumb in front by one which spun back and trapped him on the shuffle
S Rajesh is assistant editor of Cricinfo