sport

Aussies run hot in Harare

Australia claimed a 198-run victory over Zimbabwe in the opening fixture of the triangular series in Harare.

The tourists did not miss captain Michael Clarke, out with a hamstring injury, as they racked up 350-6 - their highest ODI total against Zimbabwe - having been put in.

Unusually for such a big total there was no centurion, with Glenn Maxwell's 46-ball 93 the largest contribution.

Aaron Finch, with 67, and Mitch Marsh, who made 89, also enjoyed themselves, with a total of 15 sixes and 27 fours plundered throughout the innings.

Zimbabwe never looked like getting close and were rolled over for 152 in 39.3 overs, Hamilton Masakaza's 70 sparing an even more gratuitous winning margin.

Australia's openers Finch and Brad Haddin began the day at a relatively gentle pace, with just one boundary in the first five overs.

Finch was not likely to let that continue and clubbed Panyangara for two sixes in three balls during the seventh over.

The runs began to flow more freely as the bowling changes came into effect and the stand was worth 98 when Haddin, on 46, followed a big six of his own off Elton Chigumbura with an awkward defensive prod that cannoned back into leg stump.

Finch and Marsh then took the score to 137-1 before taking an early dart at the batting powerplay in the 29th over.

The five-over period yielded only 25 runs and cost the wicket of Finch, who laced John Nyumbu to square leg.

Stand-in skipper George Bailey came and went for 14 but his departure merely brought the dangerous Maxwell to the crease.

He and Marsh went on to add 109 in just nine overs, rollicking along at more than 12 an over. Marsh took 20 off the 42nd over, only for Maxwell to fall one short of that mark in the 43rd.

Tendai Chatara split the duo when Marsh holed out looking for his fifth maximum and then dismissed Maxwell seven short of a deserved hundred having just struck back-to-back sixes.

Mitchell Johnson helped Australia reach 350 with 20 quickfire runs, launching Panyangara for a six that shattered the window of a television commentary box.

The chances of a successful Zimbabwe chase were always slim but when Mitchell Starc removed Tino Mayowo sixth ball, the game was surely up.

No 3 Masakadza immediately set about saving some face, adding 63 for the second wicket with Sikandar Raza.

Once Raza was out softly to Nathan Lyon things never got back on track, with Brendan Taylor, Chigumbura and Stuart Willams all out for the addition of just five runs.

The end came with more than 10 overs to spare, leg-spinner Steven Smith cashing in with three cheap tailend wickets.