India captain Virat Kohli (L) and his teammate Suresh Raina (R) hug after their victory. -Photo by AFP
HARARE: India wrapped up their one-day series against Zimbabwe at the first opportunity on Sunday, as they beat the hosts by seven wickets in the third ODI at Harare Sports Club.
After bowling Zimbabwe out for 183, with legspinner Amit Mishra claiming figures of 4 for 47, India needed just 35.3 overs to pass their target as captain Virat Kohli's half-century saw them home.
Kohli finished unbeaten on 68, having adapted perfectly to the slower pace of the wicket in a measured 88-ball innings.
Although Zimbabwe dismissed opener Rohit Sharma cheaply for the third time in the series, Shikhar Dhawan struck 35 from 32 balls to provide India with a solid base.
After Dhawan fell to Tendai Chatara, Kohli constructed a patient 64-run stand with Ambati Rayudu that made the outcome of both the game and the series clear.
While Rayudu was unable to see the job through, falling caught and bowled to Brian Vitori for 33, Kohli added the remaining 53 runs required with Suresh Raina, who finished on 28 not out.
Sean Williams's 45 was the highest score in a tame batting display by Zimbabwe, who lost both of their openers in the first seven deliveries of the innings and were bowled out in 46 overs.
Although Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor put on 65 for the third wicket, there were no other partnerships to speak of as the Zimbabweans put in another tame showing.
Taylor was out for 23 when he chipped Jaydev Unadkat to mid-off, while Amit Mishra picked up Masakadza, who made 38, and Malcolm Waller with successive deliveries.
Williams did his best to revive the innings with a fluid 53-ball knock, but then ran himself out as he attempted an unlikely second run.
Zimbabwe's final total was boosted by a wag of the tail as Tendai Chatara made 23 and Brian Vitori scored 17, before Amit Mishra dismissed both players to wrap up the innings.
The final two matches of the series will be played in Bulawayo on August 1 and 3.
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (capt), Vusi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Hamilton Masakadza, Sean Williams, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya, Michael Chinouya, Brian Vitori, Tendai Chatara.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Shami Ahmed, Vinay Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat.