Australia cruised to a comfortable five-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the opening One Day International and will be looking to go 2-0 up in the series when the two sides meet again on Wednesday.
The Aussies were the hot fancies heading into the first match at the Riverway Stadium in Townsville on Sunday and lived up to the billing with an easy win.
Zimbabwe looked set to put on a challenging total at one point when they reached 185-4, but a late collapse cost them and they were soon 200 all-out.
That total was never going to be enough against the Aussies and despite a middle-order collapse of their own, they reached the target with more than 16 overs to spare.
Now it is on to game two which will be held at the Riverway Stadium once again and the Townsville fans will be expecting a similar outcome against the tourists.
What: Australia v Zimbabwe
Where: Riverway Stadium, Townsville
When: 09:40 (AEST) Wednesday 31st August 2022
How to watch: Foxtel, Kayo
Odds: Australia 1/40, Zimbabwe 16/1
There were plenty of positives to take out of Australia’s opening win, in particular the bowling performance of Cameron Green.
Zimbabwe looked to be in good touch as they reached 185-4. Adam Zampa had taken three of those wickets with leg-spin but it was Green that did the real damage.
The tourists would have been looking at a total in and around 240, but they lost their last six wickets for just 15 runs and were all-out with two overs remaining.
They had no answer to Green who finished with figures of 5-33. It was an impressive performance by the West Australian and he will be looking to kick on from there.
There were also positive signs with the bat as David Warner hit 57 runs off 66 deliveries, while Steve Smith also finished 48 not-out as he and Glenn Maxwell got the Aussies over the line.
Maxwell was at his blistering best when he smashed his 32 runs off just nine deliveries which included three fours and three sixes.
It wasn’t all good news though and some bad habits remained with the bat. Skipper Aaron Finch has not been in great form and he was disappointing once again as he fell early for just 15 runs.
The the middle order also struggled to put on the runs. Alex Carey made just 10 runs, Marcus Stoinis 19 and Mitch Marsh two. The trio all fell to the bowling of Ryan Burl who was Zimbabwe’s best bowler with figures of 3-60.
Australia will be forced into at least one change for the second ODI as Marsh is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
Marsh was a key figure for Australia when they won the T20 World Cup and they are keen to make sure he is fully fit for when they start their title defence later in the year.
With that in mind they are taking no chances with this latest injury setback and Marsh has returned to Perth to begin treatment.
It means that Marsh will now miss the next two matches against Zimbabwe and also the three One Day Internationals against New Zealand.
Australia hope that Marsh will be be fit and ready to fire for the T20 tour of India in mid-September.
Josh Inglis has been called into the squad as a replacement and will now get his chance to shine.
Marnus Labuschagne, Ashton Agar and Sean Abbott are also contenders to come into the side and replace Marsh on Wednesday.
There were some positives for Zimbabwe to take from the opening game with Wesley Madhevere starring with the bat when smashing an impressive 72 runs.
Tadiwanashe Marumani also scored 45 runs while captain Regis Chakabva contributed 32.
However the rest of the batting order struggled with seven of them failing to hit double figures, and the batting collapse was alarming to say the least.
Chakabva could not fault his side’s effort but knows they will need more runs if they are to make more of a fist of it on Wednesday.
“I thought that the wicket was a little bit tricky early on and I thought the boys did well to soak up the pressure, but we just didn’t have enough runs on the board,” he said.