Steve Smith and Alex Carey delivered a winning partnership as Australia sealed their three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe with a comfortable eight-wicket win with 212 balls to spare. Chasing a paltry 97 runs, openers David Warner and Aaron Finch made the home side’s intentions clear in the second over when they blasted 13 runs, before both men fell in the third to seamer Richard Ngarava (2-16).
Finch’s woes against left-arm pacemen continued, edging to first slip for one, while Warner was also out caught, out for 13 off nine deliveries. But that was to be the only blight on a convincing performance in Townsville as Smith (47 not out), who said in the lead up he is playing with a freeness to his game, hit his second consecutive unbeaten knock to steer Australia 2-0 up in the series with one game to play. Wicketkeeper Alex Carey finished unbeaten on 26.
They were in the drivers seat early after bowling the visitors out inside 28 overs at Riverway Stadium on Wednesday morning. Skipper Finch won the toss and put Zimbabwe in to bat first for the second time this series, and again it was Australia’s seamers who did the damage. Mitchell Starc struck in the third over, clean bowling opener Innocent Kaia before he claimed two more scalps inside seven overs to leave the visitors 25-3. Starc (3-24) is now on the precipice of registering 200 ODI wickets in his 101 matches.
It got even worse when dangerman Sikandar Raza fell to Josh Hazlewood (1-16). Raza, along with Zimbabwe’s top order struggled to get any momentum at the crease as Australia’s quicks bowled at the stumps to leave the run rate hovering well under three an over. The visitors’ final five wickets fell for 36 runs with the returning Sean Williams top-scoring with 29.
Legspinner Adam Zampa got Williams’s wicket and two of their tail-enders to finish with 3-21 in back-to-back three-wicket hauls. Allrounder Cameron Green finished with 2-7 off three overs after his five wickets on Sunday, while left-arm offspinner Ashton Agar (1-5) claimed the other wicket.