Harare - Kedar Jadhav spared India's blushes as his half-century guided them to a competitive total in the third and decisive Twenty20 international against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.
After being put in to bat for the first time on the tour, India found themselves in early trouble at 27 for three before Jadhav's 58 carried them to 138 for six.
Although Zimbabwe scored 170 as they won the first Twenty20 clash of the series, Wednesday's pitch was slower and displayed variable bounce, suggesting India' total could be defendable.
Opener KL Rahul got the Indian innings up and running when he took 16 off an early Tendai Chatara over, but Donald Tiripano hit back for the home side with the wicket of Mandeep Singh and a couple of parsimonious overs.
When Rahul was bowled by Neville Madziva and Manish Pandey was brilliantly run out by Elton Chigumbura, the pressure was on the tourists.
However Jadhav added 49 for the fourth wicket with Ambati Rayudu, who made 20, and went on to reach his fifty in just 38 balls.
Tiripano struck back at the death as he removed Jadhav and Mahendra Singh Dhoni to finish with impressive figures of 3 for 20 from four overs, but Axar Patel's 20 not out from 11 balls gave India a strong finish.