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HindustanTimes Sat,02 Aug 2014

Cricket

Mishra, Kohli guide India to 3-0 lead over Zimbabwe
Sahan Bidappa , Hindustan Times
Harare, July 28, 2013
First Published: 12:32 IST(28/7/2013)
Last Updated: 03:47 IST(29/7/2013)

Since landing in Harare for the five-match series, India have had just a single practice session. The three back-to-back matches have meant little recovery time and they have thus opted not to train ahead of a game. 

In contrast, Zimbabwe players have been put through a rigorous training regime by coach Andy Waller.

In fact, they had a two-month training programme before the season started. It hasn't helped them though. The gulf between the two teams is such that all three games so far have been lop-sided.

To pit a world champion team enjoying a golden run in ODIs against a side languishing at the bottom of the rankings seems a bit unfair. In Sunday's ODI too, Zimbabwe were comprehensively outplayed as India chased down the hosts' 183 with seven wickets to spare, sealing the series with two matches to be played in Bulawayo.

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Dejected fans
Being a Sunday, the Harare Sports club was packed to half but what the crowd witnessed is not an ideal advertisement for Zimbabwe cricket. To skipper Brendan Taylor's luck, he lost the toss for the second time in three matches and Zimbabwe were in deep trouble straightaway.

The early morning start has made it difficult for the batsmen. The openers were gone just seven deliveries into the game. While India too were in a spot of bother in the second ODI, they had Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik to bail them out. Zimbabwe, though, are yet to find their saviours.

Taylor put it down to a lack of mental toughness.

"I don't think we're not mentally sharp enough. We're just not making the precise decisions at the right time and not putting a price on our wickets -- too many soft dismissals," he rued.

He too had to be blamed. After producing a mini recovery act by adding 65 runs for the third-wicket with Hamilton Masakadza, Taylor threw it away.

He mistimed a shot to mid-off off Jaydev Unadkat, and the wheels truly came off after that.

Too wily
Amit Mishra then took over. The leg-spinner, who has been on the road for a long time without playing a game, is making full use of Ravichandran Ashwin's absence.

The hosts have been clueless against Mishra, unable to read his googly, which has fetched him six of the nine wickets he has taken in the series.

He picked up four wickets. First, he dismissed Masakadza (38) and then trapped Malcolm Waller next ball to leave Zimbabwe tottering at 89 for six.

If not for a pleasing 45 from Sean Williams and some entertaining batting by the last four batsmen, who added 94 runs, the match would have been over by lunch. It didn't take long for Virat Kohli to finish the game. The skipper is building a reputation as a solid batsman while chasing, and he again sealed victory with a calculated 68 off 88 balls.

Disappointment
Rohit Sharma was disappointing once again.

For the third successive game, he was dismissed chasing a wide delivery, giving debutant Michael Chinouya his maiden international wicket.

Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu failed to convert their 30s into half-centuries, but with Kohli in the middle India were in a cruise mode.

Scorecard


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