Kedar Jadhav (left) and Manish Pandey scored their maiden ODI fifties © Getty Images and PTI (File Photo)
Kedar Jadhav (left) and Manish Pandey scored their maiden ODI fifties © Getty Images and PTI (File Photo)

Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav put on a memorable 144-run stand to boost India to a commanding 277 for 5 in the third and final One-Day International (ODI) between India and Zimbabwe at Harare. Pandey scored his maiden ODI half-century, becoming the 12th Indian batsman to reach the landmark on debut. Kedar was the star though, scoring a tremendous 105 not out. SCORECARD: India vs Zimbabwe 2015, 3rd ODI at Harare

In keeping with the tone of the series, India lost a bunch of wickets before enjoying a productive stand. Openers Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay put on 25 before Rahane drove one from Neville Madziva straight to Prosper Utseya for 15. Vijay was soon back in the hut as well, playing away from the body off Madziva only to snick behind to Richmond Mutumbami. Live Cricket Updates: India vs Zimbabwe, 3rd ODI at Harare

At 33 for 2 India were in dire need for a stable partnership. Robin Uthappa, promoted up to No. 3 in Ambati Rayudu’s absence, played a positive innings. However, No. 4 batsman Manoj Tiwary went into a shell completely and took 33 balls to score his 10 runs. He was finally out caught and bowled off Utseya, having slowed down India’s run rate to less than four runs per over. READ: Manish Pandey: 5 things you need to know about India’s newest ODI debutant

Uthappa was soon out as well, getting a leading edge off Hamilton Masakadza’s bowling and getting caught by Elton Chigumbura at cover. His knock of 31 off 44 balls was not significant but it was useful nonetheless. However, at 82 for 4 India were in danger of folding up early yet again. That united Pandey and Kedar in a stand that saved India the blushes. Kedar was lucky, getting dropped by Chigumbura after giving an easy chance at point when on 41. He made the most of it after that. READ: Ambati Rayudu’s ton against Zimbabwe shows he can fit into the full strength Indian team with ease

Pandey played an almost chanceless innings, scoring 71 off 86 with four boundaries and a lovely straight six. He was dismissed in the 47th over, hitting one from Chamu Chibhabha to Sikandar Raza in the deep on the leg side. Stuart Binny continued his good run of form, bringing out some big hits at the end. Kedar picked up his pace as well, getting to a well-deserved and potentially match-winning century. He remained unbeaten on 105 off a mere 87 balls with 12 fours and a six. READ: Stuart Binny proving his worth as premier all-rounder for India

Brief Scores:

India 276 for 5 in 50 overs (Manish Pandey 71, Kedar Jadhav 105*; Neville Madziva 2 for 48) vs Zimbabwe.

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(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)