Australia registered a thumping 198-run victory over Zimbabwe in the tri-series in Harare on Monday.
The Aussies, who have not played a one-day international since January when they beat England, showed no signs of rustiness at all. Heading into the match Australia were the big boys and Zimbabwe the minnows. The big boys bossed around the minnows in the end. They took the home side apart with both bat and ball.
Propelled by right-hander Glenn Maxwell's blistering 93 off just 46 balls the Australian side hammered their way to a humungous total of 350 runs. All-rounder Mitchell Marsh too, with his 89, contributed heavily to the Australian score.
The score of 351 was always going to be almost impossible to achieve for the inexperienced Zimbabwe batting lineup. It proved to be so, as they folded up for a mere 152.
Batting first, Australia got off a good start courtesy Aaron Finch and wicket-keeper Brad Haddin. The two put on 98 runs in 19 overs before Haddin was bowled by Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura. Both Finch and Haddin preferred to play themselves in rather than go hammer and tongs at the bowling.
The openers, though, kept the scoreboard moving along with the occasional four and six. Haddin's dismissal brought Marsh to the crease. Both Marsh and Finch were watchful as they set about building the innings. Finch, however, was dismissed in the 30th over by off-spinner John Nyumbu for 67.
George Bailey then came in and stuck around for 14 runs before all-rounder Sean Williams had him caught by Prosper Utseya .The score was 178 in the 37th over at this point. This brought Maxwell in. At this point Marsh was on 44. From here on it was carnage.
It was in the 40th over that Maxwell launched his fearsome assault by hitting Utseya for a straight six. In the very next over he struck another six off Williams. Marsh too showed he was not willing to be a bystander as hammered 18 runs in the 42nd over bowled by Nyumbu. Then Maxwell well and truly exploded as another 18-run over came Australia's way when medium pacer Tinashe Panyangara was taken to the cleaners.
Both Marsh and Maxwell continued in this vein before the former got out for 89 off medium pacer Tendai Chatara. This did not stop Maxwell, who went about hitting sixes and fours at will. Maxwell's frenetic innings finally came to an end, as Chatara had him caught at long-off while going for one more six.
Maxwell had done a lot of damage, and by the time he had got out, Australia were 303 for five in over number 47. Thereafter, propelled by left-handers James Faulkner and Mitchell Johnson, the Aussies got to 350. A six by Johnson which saw the ball shatter the commentary box glass was the highlight of their short 33-run stand.
In pursuit of 351, Zimbabwe needed a very quick start. They however did not get that. To make matters worse they lost opener Tino Mayoyo early to seamer Mitchell Starc. Thereafter the other opener Sikandar Raza and right-hander Hamilton Masakadza put together 63 runs before Raza fell.
From there on the home side lost wickets regularly as almost all the Aussie bowlers were amongst the wickets with Steven Smith taking three. Masakadza top-scored for Zimbabwe with 70. In the end, however, it wasn't enough as Zimbabwe were bowled for a paltry 152.