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HARARE, Harare Province (AFP) – A fortunate century by opener Shikhar Dhawan and some incisive bowling from left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat guided India to a 58-run victory over Zimbabwe in the second one-day international on Friday.
Dhawan was gifted three lives on his way to 116 as India posted an imposing 294 for eight, but there was nothing lucky about Unadkat's bowling as he stamped out a promising start by Zimbabwe and finished with figures of 4 for 41.
Although Zimbabwe won the toss and gained the right to bowl first in helpful conditions, they produced a ramshackle performance in the field and gave away soft wickets during their reply.
The hosts dismissed Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the opening 10 overs, but Dhawan led a charmed life as he was caught off a Kyle Jarvis no-ball, dropped by wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor when he was on just 14 and then put down again when he was on 70.
Dhawan made the most of the opportunities, putting on a 159-run stand with Dinesh Karthik to guide India out of trouble after they had slumped to 65 for four.
The left-hander went to his third one-day century in 115 balls, while Karthik scored a sturdy 69 before he was run out in a mix-up with his batting partner.
Dhawan departed in the following over when he played a Prosper Utseya delivery onto his stumps, but India finished strongly as R Vinay Kumar and Shami Ahmed took 23 runs from the final over, which was bowled by left-arm spinner Sean Williams.
Zimbabwe made a confident start to their reply on an improving pitch, led mainly by Vusi Sibanda's half-century.
However Unadkat's controlled bowling turned the innings around as his first two overs went for just six runs, and his third brought the wicket of Zimbabwe opener Sikandar Raza.
After Zimbabwe had advanced to 109 for one, Unadkat returned have Sibanda caught at midwicket for 55, and then run out Taylor for a duck.
Zimbabwe's innings faded rapidly thereafter, with spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra accounting for Sean Williams and Malcolm Waller respectively.
Elton Chigumbura hit 46 and Prosper Utseya scored an unbeaten 52, but Zimbabwe never looked like getting close to the Indian total on their way to a final total of 236 for nine.
India lead the five-match series 2-0 with the third game to be played in Harare on Sunday.