Half-centuries from opening batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay and four wickets from Bhuvneshwar Kumar have helped India beat Zimbabwe by 62 runs in the second one-day international and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Rahane and Vijay put on 112 for the first wicket after India were sent in to bat on Sunday, and although the tourists could not fully capitalise on that platform, they were still able to post 8-271.
In reply, Zimbabwe were pegged back by Kumar’s brilliant first spell, which brought the wickets of Hamilton Masakadza and the in-form Elton Chigumbura.
Chamu Chibhabha made 72, but the hosts faded after he was run out and they were eventually bowled out for 209, with Kumar finishing with figures of 4-33.
After collapsing to 5-87 in Friday’s first ODI, which they still won by four runs, India took a circumspect approach on Sunday as Rahane and Vijay batted out the opening 26 overs.
“I was not playing at my best, but according to the conditions we decided not to give early wickets because then the team is under more pressure,” Vijay said.
“We thought 260 or 270 was a good score on this wicket because it was getting slower and lower.”
While Rahane’s 63 was his 10th fifty in ODIs, Vijay had never before crossed 33 and so his 72 was a landmark for the Test regular.
Despite their dismissals, India went into the final 10 overs well set on 2-194, but then lost Friday’s centurion Ambati Rayudu for 41 and Manoj Tiwary for 22.
Seamer Neville Madziva ensured that Zimbabwe finished strongly as he picked up three wickets at the death to close with career-best figures of 4-49 in 10 overs.
With Kumar taking 2-19 in his initial six-over spell, Zimbabwe fell to 3-43 in reply and rarely threatened from that point.
When Chibhabha was run out in a mix-up with Sikandar Raza Butt the game was effectively up, and although Richmond Mutumbami and Graeme Cremer put on 52 for the seventh wicket, Kumar returned to finish the job off.
The third ODI takes place on Tuesday, and will also be played at Harare Sports Club.