Harare: A disciplined India notched up a convincing seven-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the third One-day International to secure an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series here on Sunday.
Amit Mishra scalped four wickets and skipper Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 88-ball 68 to emerge as star performers for India as they guided the visitors to their third straight victory in the series.
Mishra led a disciplined show by the bowlers as they dismissed Zimbabwe for a paltry 183 in just 46 overs after Kohli won the toss and decided to bowl.
The visitors overhauled the target in 35.3 overs, riding on Kohli`s fifty and useful contributions from Shikhar Dhawan (35), Ambati Rayudu (33) and Suresh Raina (28 not out).
Kohli, who had scored a match-winning 115 in the first ODI, once again led from the front as he starred in three useful partnerships.
He added 40 with Dhawan for the second wicket, before forging a 64-run stand with Rayudu for the third wicket, while it was the unbeaten 56-run partnership off 32 balls with Raina which finally took India home.
Chasing 184 to win, openers Rohit Sharma (14) and Shikhar Dhawan (35) made a watchful start as pacers Brian Vitori and Michael Chinouya bowled in tandem.
Sharma`s poor run with the bat in this series continued as he was the first batsman to be sent back to the pavilion when he fall to debutante Chinouya.
Sharma chased a widish length delivery from the pacer only to edge it wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor. The Mumbaikar had scored two fours in his 21 balls.
Dhawan, however, didn`t allow Sharma`s wicket to affect the run flow as he blasted Vitori over square leg for a four and then pulled him for another boundary in the same area in the seventh over.
First down batsman Virat Kohli took one over to get a feel of the wicket and then brought up his first boundary in the ninth over when he whipped Tendai Chatara across the deep backward square leg fence.
Dhawan then cut one across the cover in the same over to pick up easy runs. The left-handed batsman welcomed Prosper Utseya with a four through the leg side in the 12th over.
His stay was cut short by Chatara in the 15th over when trying to hit a length delivery off the front foot, Dhawan ended up hitting it straight to Sibanda at shortish cover.
Runs dried up after that as Kohli and new man Ambati Rayudu (33) tried to steady the ship, picking up ones and twos. In the 22nd over, Rayudu picked up a much-needed boundary when his thick edge off Utseya went flying past slip.
In the next over, Elton Chigumbura was introduced into the attack and Rayudu and Kohli hit him for two fours.
After the end of 29 overs, India took their batting powerplay but Rayudu lost his wicket when he chipped a pitched up delivery from Vitori straight to the bowler. His 54-ball innings had two fours.
In the 32nd over, Kohli sent Chinouya sailing over deep square leg for a boundary, while new man Suresh Raina too cleared the midwicket boundary in the next over.
Kohli brought up his fifty in the 34th over with a brilliant drive off the front foot, which bisected the mid off and extra cover before clearing the fence.
Three balls later, the India skipper danced down the wicket and smashed Chinouya over wide long off for the first six of Indian innings.
In the next over, Kohli and Raina picked up a couple of fours as India inched towards the win. It was Raina, who blasted a four off Chatara to bring up the final runs.
Earlier, Mishra took four for 47 to help India dismiss Zimbabwe for 183. Mohammed Shami (2/25), Jaydev Unadkat (1/24), Ravindra Jadeja (39) and R Vinay Kumar (1/32) were the other successful bowlers for India.
Sean Williams top-scored for Zimbabwe with 45 off 53 balls.
Leading 2-0 in the five-match series, Kohli's decision to bowl was vindicated as his pacers struck twice in the first two overs at the Harare Sports Club.
While R Vinay Kumar accounted for Vusi Sibanda even before the hosts could open their account, Shami sent back the other-wise reliable Sikander Raza when he had the opener caught behind by Dinesh Karthik.
Hamilton Masakadza (38) and skipper Brendan Taylor (23) added 65 runs for the third wicket to stabilise the innings before Jaydev Unadkat struck with the scoreboard reading 67 for three in the 16th over.
The Zimbabwean captain, who stood his ground after Shami leapt to his left from mid-off to pull off a catch, walked back after the third umpire upheld the on-field umpires' decision. Taylor hit three fours during his 44-ball knock.
Taylor's dismissal was the beginning of slide as Zimbabwe lost three more wickets quickly, with leg-spinner Mishra taking two of them off successive balls.
Coming in to bowl his first over of the match, Mishra tasted success immediately as Masakadza, trying to cut a short of length delivery, edged it to the keeper as the hosts lost their top four batsmen within the first 20 overs. The batsman struck five fours off 53 balls.
Malcolm Waller was out next ball as Mishra had the batsman trapped in front for a golden duck with a googly, leaving the Zimbabweans reeling at 80 for five in the 20th over.
Ravindra Jadeja made it 89 for six as the slow left-arm spinner hit Elton Chigumbura on the pads with one that might have missed the leg stump because of the angle.
Williams then added 36 runs for the seventh wicket with Prosper Utseya (10), before the latter was snared by Shami.
Jadeja's flat throw from the square leg did Williams in as the batsman fell short short of the crease at the striker's end after battling it out for 79 minutes. Williams hit two fours and a six during his fighting knock.
The Zimbabwe tail wagged before the innings came to an end.