At Delhi, November 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. India won by seven wickets. Toss: Zimbabwe. Test debut: V. Dahiya.
India took the honours in an engrossing opening act. For most of the Test, the pitch was a batsman's paradise; the first two innings raised 880 runs for 13 wickets and featured three centuries. But the game was turned by the fiery bowling of Srinath, who demolished Zimbabwe's second innings and returned match figures of nine for 141.
The Zimbabweans had shown healthy promise in their warm-up fixtures, and confidently took first strike. Srinath's pace extracted both openers cheaply, but some shoddy catching around the bat negated the initiative of Ganguly, who employed six bowlers on the first morning. The road to recovery was laid in a 119-run stand between Carlisle and Campbell, who became the third Zimbabwean after the Flower brothers to reach 2,000 Test runs. But when they went, swiftly followed by Whittall for a duck, the innings again threatened to fall apart. Andy Flower averted the crisis, carrying his side to a respectable 232 without further casualties by the close.
On a cold and hazy second morning, Srinath took the new ball and removed Streak with his opening delivery. But Flower ensured that the last four wickets added 190, including a Zimbabwean tenth-wicket Test record of 97 undefeated runs with Olonga, who survived 158 minutes for 11. Flower himself batted 466 minutes and 351 balls, hitting 24 fours and two sixes and revelling in the ideal conditions to reach an unbeaten 183, his eighth and highest Test hundred, and his second at Delhi after his 115 in 1992-93. Streak declared on the second evening at a handsome 422 for nine.
Next day, the Indians confronted Zimbabwe's fire with their own brimstone. They purchased 266 runs from a full day's shopping, which cost them only the openers. Dravid accompanied first Das and then the mercurial Tendulkar in two successive century stands; he passed 3,000 Test runs just before the end of play. India still trailed by 147, however, and a draw seemed most likely. But the fourth day saw them at their aggressive best. Dravid and Tendulkar extended their third-wicket partnership to 213, with Tendulkar cruising to his 23rd Test century and batting in all for four and three-quarter hours. Dravid, however, remained to complete a flawless double-hundred, his first in 39 Tests, from a 541-minute stay that occupied 350 balls and was punctuated by 27 fours. At once, Ganguly made a bold declaration, shortly before tea, with a slim lead of 36.
The onus now shifted to the home bowlers to maintain the basics on a pitch showing little wear and tear. Ganguly's wishes were answered: Srinath dismissed both openers without scoring in his first three overs. The Zimbabweans began the final day a shaky 119 for five, with Andy Flower, 41 not out, their best hope. The Indians came at him with all guns blazing and, while he top-scored again with 70, he was unable to inspire another recovery. Zimbabwe fizzled out for 225, with Srinath grabbing his seventh five-wicket haul in 48 Tests. That left India to chase 190 in 47 overs; they rushed past the target in the 38th, riding high on unbeaten half-centuries from Dravid and Ganguly.
Man of the Match: J. Srinath.