Zimbabwe v Australia, Tri-series, Harare August 25, 2014

Zimbabwe fold after Marsh, Maxwell blitz


Australia 350 for 6 (Maxwell 93, Marsh 89) beat Zimbabwe 152 (Masakadza 70, Smith 3-16) by 198 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Firdose Moonda: Australia showed no rust

A blistering 109-run stand in nine overs between Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell saw Australia rack up the highest ODI total at the Harare Sports Club and leave Zimbabwe in the dust in the tri-series opener. Both Marsh, promoted to No.3 in Michael Clarke's injury-enforced absence, and Maxwell recorded their highest scores in the format as Australia stacked on 147 runs in their last ten overs. Zimbabwe's best batsman, Hamilton Masakadza, managed less than half of that.

On a late winter surface, neither team's bowlers were able to extract much from the pitch but Zimbabwe's attack was rendered particularly toothless in the face of Australia's aggression. The usually miserly Tinashe Panyangara and Tendai Chatara were torn apart while John Nyumbu was swept and sliced all over the ground. In contrast Australia's frontline seamers were disciplined and their premier spinner, Nathan Lyon, found turn against a much meeker line-up that never looked likely to chase at seven runs to the over.

Australia's innings had a solid start and a flourishing finish as they first assessed the conditions and the opposition and then showed how they would react given the lack of any real threats. Aaron Finch and Brad Haddin, who was given the opening berth ahead of Phil Hughes, were circumspect upfront but found the boundary often in the first 15 overs with Zimbabwe's bowlers offering a mix of deliveries that spanned the spectrum of too short, too wide, too full and too far down the leg-side.

When Elton Chigumbura introduced himself in the 15th over, it seemed groundhog day was looming for the hosts. Fortune intervened to give them a breakthrough when Haddin went down the pitch to defend against Chigumbura but the ball dropped on the pitch, bounced behind him and removed the leg bail.

That was Zimbabwe's cue to enforce a squeeze, engineered by Prosper Utseya. Tight lines against a watchful Marsh resulted in just 23 runs coming from the next seven-and-a-half overs, during which Finch reached his half-century. In a bid to get a move on, Australia took the Powerplay at the start of the 29th over but found themselves similarly stuck. Zimbabwe gave away just 25 runs in the five-over period, got rid of Finch, and tightened their grip afterwards when Utseya held on to a catch at short third man to dismiss George Bailey.

Little did they know what lay on the other side of that wicket.

Maxwell allowed himself an 12-ball sighter before charging Utseya for the first of his three sixes. Australia's score peeped over 200 as the last 10 overs began and exploded to 281 by the time the last five overs had arrived.

Marsh and Maxwell put to use the six-hitting practice Australia had done the day before the match and tucked into Williams, Nyumbu and Panyangara, sometimes finding the boundary, other times going over it. Twenty runs came off a Nyumbu over, and 19 and 15 off two from Panyangara. Marsh went from 50 to 88 in 32 balls; Maxwell from 20 to 64 in 18 balls and both seemed destined for three figures.

But as Marsh was about to enter the nineties, he failed to clear long-on and was caught off a Chatara slower ball. Maxwell marched to 93 but then misjudged one and gave Chatara a second consolation wicket. But the damage had already been done and Zimbabwe could only hope for a respectable response.

For that, they needed a strong opening stand but their third combination in the last four matches could not deliver. Tino Mawoyo, who was brought into the XI, was trapped lbw by a Mitchell Starc delivery that caught him in his crease as it angled in.

Sikandar Raza and Hamilton Masakadza showed fight with the highest stand of the Zimbabwe innings, 63 runs, with Masakadza the mainstay. Raza refused to take a run off Mitchell Johnson, playing out two successive maidens from him, but eased the pressure when Kane Richardson was brought on and he could hit with confidence through the off side. He once again threw away a start when he hit Lyon straight to backward square leg.

Masakadza held the innings together as Taylor, fresh from being dropped, pushed lazily at a Johnson delivery with a hint of extra bounce to be caught at slip, Chigumbura top-edged a short ball after being hit by Johnson and Sean Williams gifted a catch to cover. At 88 for 5 in the 23rd over, Zimbabwe were out of the contest, and besides Masakadza's 24th ODI fifty there were few positives for them.

Soft dismissals were the primary method of departure for Zimbabwe's batsman with partnerships lean and bowlers given a free pass to collect wickets. Chigumbura used one word to sum up Zimbabwe's performance. "Outplayed." It was actually much more than that because they undid themselves as much as they were undone by an Australian side that did not look like they had been without game time since January.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 27, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    Was really a blistering innings. but the real challenge is today....let's see how Maxwell handle it.

  • David on August 26, 2014, 20:53 GMT

    For Aussies discussing Maxwell's inclusion in longer format, I see no reason he would not be able to perform. Look at de Villiers, he can reel off unbelievable bouts of high speed scoring & test batting of the highest caliber. AB has a 75 ball test century, & in THAT Adelaide game scored a 220 ball 33! That is as far on both sides of he run rate spectrum as one can bat!

    No reason Maxi can't do the same. Like AB he is a brilliant athlete - both incredible fielders. He may need solid training in technique to master the test skill set, but the right training develops the right mindset. Unwavering confidence in their skills makes batsmen succeed. Maxi gets worked out by some bowlers. He needs to work out the bowlers & that comes from confidence in & application of technique.

    The reason AB fared best against Mitch in SA? He had Morkel & others bounce him for hours, day after day, before the series. He wore a lot of balls, but was confident in his technique when he finally faced Johnson.

  • James on August 26, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    @Rowan: I think Maxwell at no.3 in ODI's could be a hit, but in Tests i hadn't given it too much thought, that might be a struggle but at no.6 he could flourish them move up in time.

    I'm interested to see what Lehmann's plans for Marsh are though, they genuinely seem interested in him being a long term no.3, something which again, i hadn't given too much thought. I'm not convinced, but i wouldn't mind seeing it happen should it be a success.

  • Dummy4 on August 26, 2014, 12:59 GMT

    Loved the way Mitchell Marsh played, He should get three goes against proteas to repeat it and he is able to do it.And dunno why people are picking on Lyon,that was just his 3rd ODI give him time.

  • Dummy4 on August 26, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    @ jono makin, I agree, Maxwell reminds me strongest of Ponting, and I wrote somewhere a while ago, that he is like a Modern t20-bred version of Ponting, they resemble each other physically a lot, and Maxwell has a decent average, I also suggest there is only one way to find out how he would handle test cricket, and that is to put him in the side. Problem with him playing as a locked-in number 3 batsman for tests, is that he acts as a floating slogger for both ODI and T20, so it will be quite a massive task for him to master all 3 formats. But maybe he can handle it better than say, Warner.

  • Dummy4 on August 26, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    Maxwell as a situational 3-7 floating batsman is such a luxury, and with so many allrounders, it's almost like he's a playing 12th man, with also exceptional fielding abilities. Lets hope the opening pair of Finch and Warner click together as soon as they are reunited. Like I said before, it looks asthough Clarke is the odd one out in this ODI team, but lets see how his ODI game is these days...

    Have a look at these 2 XI's.

    1. Finch 2. Hughes 3. Watson 4. Maxwell(c) 5.Henriques 6. m. Marsh. 7. Wade 8. Midge 9. O'Keefe/cutting 10. Pattinson 11. Bird

    1. Warner 2.S. Marsh 3. Smith 4. Clarke(c) 5. Bailey 6. Faulkner 7. Haddin 8. Starc 9. Cummins/Richardson 10. Lyon 11. Mckay

    I wonder who'd win?

  • Graham on August 26, 2014, 11:04 GMT

    @ZCFOUTKAST I did not state that Jarvis would bea solution to Zimbabawes seam bowling issues at all , and is performances for Lancs this year indicate a return to ODI cricet is a million miles away. However he would probably be first choice amongst the currently uncoached Zim seamers.

  • James on August 26, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    Not much you can draw from doing well against ZB, no disrespect to them. I didn't see the game, but assume ZB are still effectively a minnow. It's how well you cope with pressure against good opponents that determines how well you do in the WC - neither of these factors was present yesterday.

    In fact, blitzing poorer teams can lead to overconfidence and sloppiness.

    Still, AUS has the basis of an excellent ODI team here. It will be interesting to see if Maxwell can develop consistency with his high-risk game. That's where he differs from guys like Ponting. Sure, If it comes off Maxwell will just about win the game single handedly. But if that only happens one game in five, it's a bit like playing Russian Roulette, isn't it?

  • Jay on August 26, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    Australia's one day side for the world cup is not clear at the moment! I liked Mitch Marsh at 3, he struggled to time the ball at the start of his innings, once settled played a blinder of an innings.Hope and wish Mitch Marsh's injury worries are thing of the past and that he can really forge a wonderful career at 3. As far Maxwell, I think he can be a good top order batsman playing right handed. I fee,l Maxi over does the reverse sweep most times and gets himself out playing it rather than bowler getting him out. Nathan Lyon needs time to settle down in this format. Would have liked Steve Smith to get more runs than he did. I do not know how Lehman and co can accommodate Mitch Marsh, Maxwell, Steve Smith and Faulkner in the same squad.

  • ZCF on August 26, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    Australia presented a fine test for certain batsmen like Taylor&Williams. With that team having plenty of seamers -Starc, Johnson, Richardson, Mitchell Marsh&Faulkner- there is nowhere to hide below. They find you lower down the order! If you're going good, Smith&Maxwell won't necessarily be fed to you ahead of them. In all, ZIM's cricketers are letting themselves down. I think Mutumbami(&Nyumbu) needs to be taken out of the firing line&Taylor handed the gloves. Both are not scoring runs&their keeping is suspect. XI: Raza, Mawoyo, Vusi, Hami, Taylor(wk), Williams, Elton(c), Vitori, Utseya, Panyangara, Chatara

    @grahaam you are complaining about ZIM's expensive seam bowling in an ODI&your solution is the return of Kyle Jarvis, one of the worst in ZIM's ODI history? Look for him somewhere at the bottom of this list: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=economy_rate;qualmin1=15;qualval1=innings_bowled;team=9;template=results;type=bowling

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