Jodhpur: Zaheer Khan slammed four sixes off Henry Olonga's last over and Sachin Tendulkar hit a masterly century as India reached 283 for eight in 50 overs in the third One-day International on Friday. This was the first international match at Jodhpur and the spectators got a lot to cheer about.India were off to a brilliant start, solely due to the efforts of Tendulkar, strutted in the middle and accelerated towards the end. Zaheer Khan perhaps played the best knock of his career as he repeatedly carted Olonga out of the ground.
Zaheer was unbeaten on 32 runs from 11 balls as Olonga went for 27 runs in his last over as India set Zimbabwe a fairly stiff target to chase.Despite Sachin Tendulkar scoring his 27th One-day International century, India lost their way in the middle with wickets falling in a heap after the fall of Rahul Dravid. The inexperience of the Indian middle order stood exposed the moment Zimbabwe had got rid of the top two batsmen. Tendulkar was out in the 47th over in a bid to push the Indian scoring.
Tendulkar's 146 came off 153 balls with 15 fours and two sixes.India were off to a ominous start with Tendulkar and skipper Saurav Ganguly showing absolutely different forms. Tendulkar was on fire from the word go and did not allow the Zimbabwe opening attack of Travis Friend and Bryan Strang to settle down.Ganguly, on the other hand, played a very casual shot to a straight delivery from Strang to be bowled for five. Dravid then gave Tendulkar the much needed support from the other end and India raced away to 50 in eight overs and 100 in 14 overs. The introduction of spin in the form of Grant Flower spelt India's middle order doom. Dravid miscued a sweep for Gavin Rennie to take a fine catch.
This gave an excellent opportunity to youngsters Yuvraj Singh and Reetinder Singh Sodhi to prove themselves especially as they had master batsman Tendulkar at the other end.Hemang Badani fell to a close run out with the TV replays showing the Indian batsman just out of his crease after he was involved in a "yes", "no" confusion with Tendulkar, who was on 99 at that point. Yuvraj and Reetinder, however, failed to utilise the chance and fell to poor strokes. The Zimbabwean fielders set high standards on the field and they proved it once again with the good catches that they took.
The Zimbabweans, however, blotted their fielding record when they dropped Tendulkar. Andy Flower made some amends when he superbly stumped Sunil Joshi in a flash off his sibling Grant to once again put India in a spot of bother. Joshi was playing fluently and added 57 runs for the sixth wicket. Saurav Ganguly elected to bat on winning the toss on a slow wicket and a stadium with short boundaries. India made one change with Ajit Agarkar replacing Sridharan Sriram from the team that beat Zimbabwe by 61 runs at Ahemdabad.Zimbabwe made three changes bringing in Bryan Strang, Gavin Rennie and M Nkala to replace Dirk Viljoen, Douglas Marillier and Brian Murphy respectively.