Kumble, Harbhajan spin India to innings win

Published: Monday, February 25, 2002, 17:42 [IST]
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Nagpur: The spin duo of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh proved too hot to handle for Zimbabwe, which collapsed in a heap on the fifth and last day of the first cricket Test here on Monday to give India a comprehensive innings and 101-run victory. Off spinner Harbhajan Singh, who had gone wicketless in this match till Sunday despite bowling immaculately, finally had luck smiling on him. However, it was leg spinner Anil Kumble who received the man-of-the-match award for his nine wickets in the match including a five-wicket haul in the second innings.

Zimbabwe, which had conceded a 283-run first innings lead, was all out for 182 in its second innings 15 minutes into the second half of the first session. India had declared its first innings at 570 for seven on Sunday in reply to Zimbabwe's 287. The slide for Zimbabwe, which resumed at its overnight 152 for four, started early in the day when night watchman Ray Price became the first victim of Harbhajan Singh in the second over of the day.Price gave a bat-pad chance to Rahul Dravid at silly mid-off without adding anything to his overnight score of four.

Zimbabwe lost its fifth wicket at 156. Kumble then got rid of Grant Flower who was adjudged leg before wicket for just one. But the big wicket came in the form of Trevor Gripper, who had defied the Indian attack for close to five hours on Sunday. Gripper, who made a patient 211-ball 60, was foxed by a Harbhajan Singh delivery that held back a bit. The batsman gave a simple catch to Virender Sehwag, substituting for Shiv Sunder Das. Seven down for 171, a Zimbabwe defeat looked imminent and the only matter of interest was the margin. Wicket-keeeper Tatenda Taibu (0), Heath Streak (8) and Brighton Watambwa (1) could not offer much and the Zimbabwe innings ended in the 22nd over of the day.

With the dismissal of Heath Streak, who was caught by Saurav Ganguly, Kumble completed his 19th five-wicket haul in Test cricket. He finished with five for 63, while Harbhajan Singh had figures of four for 46. Travis Friend, who remained unbeaten on 60 in the first innings, once again ran out of partners and was not out on six.

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