Zimbabwe Select XI v Australia A, Harare, 3rd day July 20, 2013

Ahmed's four helps Aus A to 80-run win


Australia A 226 (Henriques 71, Jarvis 4-54) & 156 (Doolan 52, Chigumbura 4-26) beat Zimbabwe Select XI 142 (Waller 25, Ahmed 4-54) & 160 (Masakadza 69, Ahmed 4-23) by 80 runs

Australia A needed only one session of the third day to wrap up an 80-run victory against Zimbabwe Select XI, after setting them a target of 241 to win. At 51 for 4 overnight, it was merely a matter of time for Australia A, and Pakistani-born legspinner Fawad Ahmed was the man who sped up the clock.

He made a loud claim for a call-up to Australia's Ashes squad as he ended the match with eight wickets, although the national selectors may need some information on the pitch he achieved these figures on. Speaking to ESPNcricinfo on Friday, Zimbabwe's captain, Brendan Taylor, confirmed he was concerned about the surface, which was dry, slow and taking plenty of turn.

That will not detract from the inadequacies of their batsmen. Hamilton Masakadza was the only one to record a half-century in the match, and his defiance was the only thing that kept Australia A at bay for a short while. Masakadza shared a 67-run fifth-wicket stand with nightwatchman Kyle Jarvis, who once again showed why he could bat higher up if needed.

He made a confident 34 and when he was dismissed, Zimbabwe folded. They lost their last five wickets for 38 runs, in another lower-order collapse which exposed their weakness against spin, which was laid so bare on their March tour of West Indies. Ahmed cleaned up the tail and David Warner took the final wicket; his notable contribution of the match.

Warner scored 17 runs in both innings in an attempt to show his readiness to rejoin the Ashes squad, and will need to make a greater impression in South Africa. Australia A will play South Africa A in two four-day matches starting next Wednesday, although the wintry conditions could make for similarly interesting surfaces.

For Zimbabwe, a five-ODI series against India beckons, and they have plenty to think about. The form of their bowlers - Jarvis, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chatara and Natsai M'shangwe, will be pleasing to new coach Andy Waller, but batting concerns continue to worry them.

Neither opener, Vusi Sibanda and Sikandar Raza, showed the right temperament and technique against Australia A's pace attack, and with Taylor misfiring, the middle order looks fragile. Masakadza will need to score many more runs, and inspire the same from the rest, if they hope to put on a decent show in the coming months.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 23, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Shaun Marsh,Simon Katich,Dave Hussey,Callum Ferguson,Marcus North should be in the Aussie Squad for the Ashes...

  • Satish on July 21, 2013, 15:15 GMT

    @Chris_P on (July 20, 2013, 20:06 GMT) Hang on a minute tour does not mean a thing. Siddle was taken a part like never before in the tour game too but come 1st TEST he takes a five fer and poms are bowled out for 215 just like that.Don't look too much into tour games mate.

  • Dummy4 on July 21, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    Maddinson is just another T20 slogger.

  • Sam on July 21, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    a) Fawad Ahmed is promising. I guess he soon will be picked b) Don't know why Aus always overlooks Steven O'Keefe in tests. He averages in the 20s in FC with the ball c) I agree, Zim selection isn't merit based d) Matsikenyeri had trillions of chances but he never succeed. Very terrible batsman for me e) Players like Vermeulen, Mutizwa should be in for Zim.

  • Noel on July 21, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    A.Doolan should be on the the first flight back to the England .Beats me why he was not in the tour party to start with.Just look at his 1st Ss record got runs on the board. Time to pick batsman who are in form.

  • Steven on July 21, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    I think David Warner has more talent in his little finger compared to Rogers, Khawaja, Cowan, and Watson added together. Not matter what type of form he is in, Warner is a must in any team. Australia need to start blooding young players not going backwards to older players (Haddin, Rogers). Need to be rebuilding for future. This is what team should be for next test. Warner, Maddinson, Hughes, Clarke, Doolan, Wade, Faulkner, Siddle, Pattinson, Harris, Fawad Ahmed (12th Man Agar, 13th Man Joe Burns). No it wont happen, but got to better than whats going on now......

  • Peter on July 20, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    @Thefakebook. Is that right? I wonder who it was then who smacked him all over England when he toured there with the "A" team? This game simply reinforced Australia's pace back-up & showed why Doolan was the form batsman leading to the BBL.

  • Graham on July 20, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    ZCF Outcast trying organise and Australian spin attack ? you are getting your wishes with no Cremer Ervine etc but your judgement remains flawed, Zim are getting worse and It should be noted that these A teams from major ICC nations are choosing to spend more time in places like Ireland and Scotland than a Zimbabwe, where selection is not merit based and the structure is failing. I hope you look forward to the Zimbabwe v Uganda T20 series in 2016

  • Satish on July 20, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    @John Verdal on (July 20, 2013, 15:56 GMT) I agree with you sir,but I think Usman just needs that one ton and runs will flow for him! Watto I'm pretty sure is playing his last series unless he gets a huge 200+ and saves this game.Warner would be awesome at no. 6, Doolan ,Sayers and even Nicolas Maddinson are the next in line. Ahmed would be a regular before this series is over!

  • ZCF on July 20, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    I wouldn't be misled by Ahmed's figures. Afterall, conditions in Zim are helpful to spinners. He really struggled during the tour matches in England, or more accurately, was utterly useless. All the more reason why despite efforts by that CA official to convince the public that Fawad had not been overtaken, it was Agar who stayed behind instead. SA have already had their fatal Tahir trial. One would've thought that Australia would be wiser on this one, but then again we all know that their faulty logic where spinners are concerned is a universal plague in that land - no matter how many reviews or changes in leadership they've been through.

    Going into this series against India, Zim really need to bring in Matsi, Mawoyo&Chibhabha to boost things. If Pak can get away with Misbah, and Eng Trott, then Mawoyo can open for us in ODIs as well. Versatile Chamu can always step in for any failing batsman: Mawoyo, Matsi, Vusi, Hami, Taylor(wk), Williams, Elton, Utseya, Shingi, Vitori, Mpofu

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