Ambati Rayudu played a sublime innings today © AFP
Ambati Rayudu played a sublime innings today © AFP

A gritty unbeaten century from Ambati Rayudu and an excellent half-century  from Stuart Binny powers India to 255 for six against Zimbabwe in the first One-Day International (ODI) at Harare. India did not get off to an ideal start as they lost opener Murali Vijay for just one run, with just nine runs on the board. Rayudu then came on to join his skipper Ajinkya Rahane at No.3 and the duo put on 51 runs for the second wicket to put India in a slightly comfortable position. Live Blog: India vs Zimbabwe 2015, 1st ODI at Harare

But Donald Tripiano got rid of Rahane for 34 and three more wickets fell in quick succession after that. Chamu Chibhabha was the man to get rid of Manoj Tiwary for two and Kedar Jhadav for five and the run out of Robin Uthappa was squeezed in between those two wickets. India were in a spot of bother having lost half their side with just 87 runs on the board. That is when Binny walked in at No.7 as he began to resurrect the Indian innings along with Rayudu. Live scorecard: India vs Zimbabwe 2015, 1st ODI at Harare

The duo not only scored runs but they did so in a manner where the run rate also increased. Both batted sensibly and did it without taking much risks. Zimbabwe bowlers toiled hard but were not able to get the batsmen out. Binny along the way scored his first ever fifty in ODIs and Rayudu too made the best use of this opportunity and scored his second ton soon after that.

Overall, India will be happy with the way they dug themselves out of trouble and have set a decent total for Zimbabwe to chase down. Zimbabwe have some good batsmen in their ranks and after an impressive display against Pakistan in the previous series, they will look to chase this total down as well. Binny was eventually dismissed for a well made 77. Rayudu and Binny put on 160 for the sixth wicket.

Earlier, Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura won the toss and elected to bowl first. India’s skipper for the series, Rahane too said at the toss that he would have wanted to bowl in that pitch. India are going into the series with a weakened side as many of the senior players have been rested. India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh plays his first ODI match for India in over four years. He will be partnered by slow left-arm bowler Akshar Patel.

Brief scores:

India 255 for 6 (Ajinkya Rahane 34, Ambati Rayudu 124*, Stuart Binny 77; Donald Tripiano 2 for 48, Chamu Chibhabha 2 for 25) vs Zimbabwe

Full scorecard

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)