Australia crush Zimbabwe by 8 wickets to win 2nd ODI, clinches series

TOWNSVILLE, Australia — Mitchell Starc took three early wickets to help restrict Zimbabwe to 96 runs and Steve Smith posted an unbeaten 47 as Australia won the second one-day cricket international by eight wickets Wednesday to clinch the three-match series.

After Australia won the toss and sent the visitors in to bat, Starc (3-24) bowled three wides in a wild opening over but quickly recovered his line and a fuller length to bowl Innocent Kaia (2), trap Wessly Madhevere (0) lbw and have Tadiwanashe Marumani (4) caught at point as Zimbabwe slumped to 14 for three.

His new-ball partner Josh Hazlewood (1-16) bowled a consistent back-of-a-length across two spells and was rewarded with the wicket of Sikanda Raza (17), leaving Zimbabwe 46-4 at the first drinks break.

Allrounder Cameron Green held an outfield catch to remove Zimbabwe’s top scorer — Sean Williams for 29 off 45 deliveries — off Adam Zampa’s bowling and then had both Tony Munyonga and Ryan Burl caught behind for 10.

Leg-spinner Zampa (3-21) took the last two wickets within four deliveries to ensure Zimbabwe’s innings ended inside 28 overs.

“I thought it was clinical by all the bowlers — the tone set by Starc and Hazlewood at the top of the innings was outstanding,” Australia captain Aaron Finch said. “Cam Green, the two spinners, it couldn’t have gone more to plan today.”

It went completely against plans for Zimbabwe.

Skipper Regis Chakabva commended the way his Zimbabwe bowling attack went out to try and defend a meagre total but said the batting was disappointing.

“The Aussies bowled really well at us. Really used the wicket well,” he said in a post-match TV interview. “We just didn’t get any of our guys getting any real starts.

“The first game went really well — today, lots of things to take from it, and keep learning.”

Richard Ngarava removed openers David Warner (13) and Aaron Finch (1) in the third over to have Australia in trouble at 16-2 before Smith and Alex Carey (26) combined in an unbeaten 84-run third-wicket partnership to secure victory with 212 deliveries to spare.

Smith scored his 47 from 41 deliveries in just under an hour to follow up on his unbeaten 48 on Sunday in Australia’s five-wicket opening win.

The final match is scheduled for Saturday, also in Townsville.

The series is being played in northern Queensland state as part of the International Cricket Council’s Super League competition for ODIs. Both teams are preparing for the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup which starts in Australia on October 16. – AP

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