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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 January, 2004, 11:19 GMT
India deny Zimbabwe
VB Series, Match 8, Adelaide: India 280-7 (50 overs) beat Zimbabwe 277-6 (50 overs) by three runs

Laxman celebrates
VVS Laxman made his third century in a week
VVS Laxman scored his third century in a week as India beat Zimbabwe by three runs in a tense VB Series match.

Sean Ervine and Stuart Carlisle both hit tons of their own in reply to India's 280-7.

The duo put on 202 for the fourth wicket - the first ever partnership of over 200 for Zimbabwe.

But three wickets fell in the last five overs to leave Dion Ebrahim needing six off the final ball. He managed two, Zimbabwe finishing 277-6.

Laxman, who scored unbeaten centuries against Australia last Sunday and on Thursday, hit 131 from 138 balls.

His innings included 13 fours and a six for his fifth one-day international hundred in all. India did well to recover from a horrid start which saw them 4-3 when Andy Blignaut dismissed captain Sourav Ganguly in the fourth over.

Australia P5 W4 L1 Pts 23 RR 1.06
India P6 W4 L2 Pts 23 RR 0.35
Zimbabwe P5 W0 L5 Pts 2RR -1.71

Heath Streak returned 3-53 after removing both openers for ducks.

But Laxman combined with Rahul Dravid (56) for a 133-run fourth-wicket stand and a 118-run stand with Rohan Gavaskar (54) to rescue the innings.

Zimbabwe also endured early trouble, with three wickets falling in the first 12 overs, Laxman made a brilliant one-handed catch at second slip to dismiss Travis Friend for a duck.

Carlisle and Ervine paced the innings perfectly, both reaching three figures in the space of three deliveries.

Ervine easily surpassed his previous career best 53 on his way to a century from 99 balls, including a flogged six off spinner Murali Kartik.

Carlisle was more patient to begin with, his third career hundred eventually taking 120 balls.

But the late collapse proved fatal to Zimbabwe's hopes of clinching their first victory in the tournament.

With 33 runs needed off 25 deliveries, Ervine was run out for 100 declining a single to mid-off as his partner hurtled towards the striker's end.

And 20 were still required from 12 when Carlisle flayed Agit Agarkar to mid-off for 109.

But Zimbabwe were still in the hunt until Blignaut fell in the last over to another superb catch by Laxman at deep extra cover, running diving and sliding to complete the dismissal.

India: S C Ganguly (capt), PA Patel (wkt), V V S Laxman, R Dravid, SB Bangor, RS Gavaskar, HK Badani, AB Agarkar, M Kartik, I K Pathan, L Balaji.

Zimbabwe: GW Flower, V Sibanda, TJ Friend, SV Carlisle, HH Streak (capt), T Taibu (wkt), SM Ervine, A M Blignaut DD Ebrahim, RW Price, DT Hondo.

Umpires: D J Harper and R E Koertzen

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