• Aus draw first blood

    Australia have completed a comprehensive victory over Zimbabwe in the first fixture of the Triangular series, winning by 198 runs.

    The victory was set up by Glenn Maxwell’s 46-ball 93 and Mitchell Marsh’s 89, as Australia posted 350-6 after being put in to bat by Zimbabwe.

    Aaron Finch (67) and Brad Haddin (46) opened the batting for Australia and got things off to a solid start, putting on 98 runs for the first wicket, and with such a strong start the visitors never looked back.

    When Marsh and Maxwell came together the score was on 178-3 after 36.2 overs and they proceeded to put Zimbabwe’s bowlers to the sword, flaying 109 runs in just nine overs. When Marsh fell for 89 the total was near 300, with five overs still to come, and Zimbabwe were all but out of the contest.

    Maxwell then added 19 more to his total, with James Faulkner at the non-striker’s end, before getting out for 93. Mitchell Johnson finished the job, smashing 20 off 10 balls, including a monster six that broke the glass right in front of the commentators. That 15-over flurry of runs took Australia to the imposing total of 350-6.

    Given their target of 351, and the quality of Australia’s attack, Zimbabwe were never in with a chance. Hamilton Masakadza was the only batsman to put up a fight, scoring 70, but the hosts were undone by the spin of Nathan Lyon and Steve Smith, who took five wickets between them, to limit Zimbabwe to 152 all out. Left arm paceman Mitchell Starc was also impressive, collecting two wickets, while the attack’s spearhead, Johnson, could only claim one scalp, despite bowling with pace up front.

    It was a total performance from the Aussies, to complete a 198-run rout in their first game of the tour. Australia take a bonus point from the victory, and will be confident going into their clash against South Africa on Wednesday. That game will start at 9:30am, with the Proteas expected to field a full-strength team.

    Photo: Backpagepix

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    Dan Gillespie