The stage changed but the script was much the same, with India's bowlers continuing to play the lead role and Zimbabwe's assembly of understudies remaining overwhelmed. After three wins in Harare, India went up 4-0 at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on the back of another fine bowling performance and Zimbabwe's worst batting effort of the series. India won a good toss, making good use of the lively pitch early on, and the match was over as a contest by the time Zimbabwe lost half their team inside 15.1 overs. Chasing 145, India were set up by a century stand for the second wicket between Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina.
Mohit Sharma's first delivery in international cricket set the tone for a parsimonious and probing opening spell in which he troubled the batsmen with his accuracy and movement. Eighteen of the first 30 balls bowled did not touch the bat, as Mohit and Mohammed Shami had the openers either leaving or missing outside off stump.
Mohit needed no time in fine-tuning his line and length and got the ball to swing into off and seam away. The one that cut back amid the outswingers only added to the confusion. After several close shouts, Mohit had success when he was rewarded for his perseverance on and around off stump, as Sikandar Raza (7) poked at an away-going delivery and nicked to Dinesh Karthik. Mohit's first spell was 6-2-13-1.
Just when a partnership appeared to be forming, Ravindra Jadeja nailed a direct hit from point to run out Hamilton Masakadza for 10. Moments later, Jadeja handed Brendan Taylor his second duck of the series though replays showed the ball that had him lbw was sliding down leg stump. In the next over, Zimbabwe's woes were compounded when Sean Williams had his stumps rearranged by a straight delivery from Jaydev Unadkat. Zimbabwe were 47 for 5.
Then came the highest stand of the innings, between Elton Chigumbura and Malcolm Waller. Waller had made four runs in three innings before today and appeared visibly determined to grind out a score. That he did, facing 77 balls for his 35. It was a dour innings no doubt, but given the predicament for his team it was a solid one. Chigumbura's unbeaten 50 took his average against India to 91, being only twice out in six innings. Most of his runs came through the singles and he found the boundary only four times, although a couple drives were packed with power and particularly impressive.
Zimbabwe took the batting Powerplay in the 36th over and Chigumbura and Waller tucked into Shami with a four and six, but in the next Mohit returned to snap a 79-run stand with Waller (35) nicking off to give Karthik his 50th dismissal in ODIs. It was a good catch too, Karthik diving low to his right to hold the ball as it died on him.
Shami nipped out Prosper Utseya for 1 and there was no resistance to come as Amit Mishra grabbed three wickets in six deliveries to skittle the tail and take his series tally to 12. Zimbabwe's last five wickets fell for 17 runs in 36 balls.
When India came out to chase, though, the Zimbabwe bowlers were unable to recreate the trouble their batsmen suffered. Their lines and lengths were not bad initially - India crawled to 23 for 1 in ten overs - but the lateral movement was not as profound as earlier in the day and this allowed Rohit and Raina to flourish. Zimbabwe's only success with the ball came when Tendai Chatara breached the debutant Cheteshwar Pujara's on-the-move drive and uprooted leg stump. The Saurashtra batsman, who has two Test double-centuries to his credit, made 13 in his first ODI.
Rohit, hurting after a poor score in his 100th ODI, ground out a half-century off 84 balls while Raina drove, cut and flicked his way to the milestone in 60 balls. Their 122-run partnership clinched a nine-wicket win with 19.1 overs to spare. The result continued the trend of India keeping Zimbabwe to attainable totals and chasing with relative ease. Up 4-0, India will fancy their chances of sweeping the series on Saturday.