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Feature

A brief history of Zimbabwe in Australia: beating England, Streak's day at the SCG and Marillier's near-miss

They are back down under for the first time in seven years and playing a bilateral series after nearly 20

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
24-Aug-2022
Eddo Brandes gets rid of Graeme Hick, England v Zimbabwe, 1992 World Cup, Albury

Defending a total of 134 against England, Eddo Brandes took 4 for 21  •  Getty Images

Played 8; Won 1; Lost 7 (five matches in Australia)
Zimbabwe first came to Australian shores in 1992 for the World Cup hosted on both sides of the Tasman. Their meeting with Australia was a comprehensive 128-run win for the hosts in which the Waugh brothers and Dean Jones scored half-centuries but they were not without their moments elsewhere, most famously beating England in their final game when Eddo Brandes skittled the top order.
Played 6; Won 1; Lost 5
Two years later Zimbabwe returned as part of the quadrangular World Series played among that season's Ashes series and which controversially included Australia A. They gave Australia a bit of a scare in the opening match when an injured Mark Waugh had to come out with a runner to get them over the line in a small chase after a flurry of late wickets for Grant Flower. Their second match against Australia was a much more comfortable win for the home side in which Stuart Law made his one international century. They were twice turned over by Australia A as well (matches that weren't classed as ODIs) but again they beat England. In Sydney, Grant Flower carried his bat for an unbeaten 84 then legspinner Paul Strang removed Graham Gooch and Graham Thorpe in his first over as Zimbabwe defended 205.
Played 8; Won 1, Lost 7
Zimbabwe's appearance in this tri-series was not as forlorn as the scoreline would suggest. They nearly sneaked their opening match against West Indies but were denied by Ricardo Powell. However, they managed to win the next meeting between the teams in a remarkable match at the SCG where they defended just 138. Captain Heath Streak, who had already top-scored with 45, took 4 for 8 and Bryan Strang 3 for 15 as West Indies sank to 31 for 8 before being bowled out for 91. Australia won their first three matches against them with relative ease, despite Alistair Campbell's 124 in Hobart, but the final match at the WACA was different. Damien Martyn's superb unbeaten 144 had piled up 302 for 5 then Stuart Carlisle responded with 119. It came down to needing 13 off the final over. Twice in the first three deliveries Doug Marillier scooped Glenn McGrath to leave 5 needed off three balls but they couldn't quite get over the line.
Played 2; Lost 2
Zimbabwe have met Australia in just three Test matches and two of them came in this series. It became famous for Matthew Hayden setting a new world-record score of 380 at the WACA (which would only stand for six months before Brian Lara took it again), in what were two victories by predictably hefty margins even though Australia were without McGrath (injury) and Shane Warne (suspension), with further injuries to Jason Gillespie and Stuart MacGill. Zimbabwe were more competitive in the second Test at the SCG where Carlisle made a first-innings century and Ray Price took six wickets. However, Ricky Ponting's 169 helped ensure a lead before Simon Katich became a somewhat unlikely matchwinner with 6 for 65 after Brett Lee had joined the injury list.
Played 8; Lost 7, NR 1
Returning a couple of months later for another tri-series, Zimbabwe left without a win on the board. They came close against India in Adelaide, where centuries from Carlisle (his third in Australia) and Sean Ervine were not quite enough. There might have been hope in their first match against Australia when they kept the hosts to 225 for 8 at the SCG, but the top order sank to 17 for 5 against Brad Williams.
Played 6; Won 1, Lost 5 (3 matches in Australia)
They were taken for a massive 372 for 2 by West Indies in Canberra where Chris Gayle made 215 off 147 balls. Pakistan were struggling before Wahab Riaz turned things around and there was a controversial note to their defeat against Ireland when replays suggested John Mooney's foot may have touched the rope when he caught Sean Williams for 96.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo