" Masakadza made a solid 70 but he will feel he floundered an opportunity to hit a century against the best side in the world."
Harare, Aug 26 - Cricket top-ranking team Australia was ruthless with both bat and ball as it crushed host Zimbabwe by 198 runs Monday in the first match of their cricket triangular series in Harare which also involves South Africa.

Nothing was unexpected in the manner the Australians coasted to victory but it was all about how much resistance Zimbabwe would offer in their own conditions, Xinhua reports.

There was little of that as the tourists battered Zimbabwean batsman all over the park to register the biggest score at Harare Sports club by racking 350 runs after losing the toss.

There was no centurion in the Australian line up but Glen Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh could have achieved the milestone with a bit of discipline.

Maxwell scored 93 runs off just 46 balls before he fell to Tendai Chatara who combined with Tino Mawoyo. Marsh fell for 89 going for a maximum as well. Aaron Finch had already reached his half century.

Faced with a tame bowling attack of seamers Tinashe Panyangara and Tendai Chatara as well as the slower bowlers, Sean Williams, Prosper Utseya and John Nyumbu there was every reason for such excitement by the Australians.

Captain Elton Chigumbura and Utseya had kept Australia's scoring in check only George Bailey captained Australian side to break loose and pile 147 runs in 10 overs and misery on the Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe's run chase got off to a bad start with the early wicket of Tino Mawoyo but they might have been flattered by a mini but entertaining 63 run partnership by Sikandar Raza and Hamilton Masakadza finding the boundary with eloquent ease.

But once Raza found Marsh off Nathan Lyon delivery any sliver of hope Zimbabwe could make a contest out of this one started to disappear with the home side's batsman trooping one after the other back to the hut in quick succession.

Even the usually reliable Brendan Taylor was out of sorts making just 10 before he perished with Chigumbura and Sean Williams no better.

Masakadza made a solid 70 but he will feel he floundered an opportunity to hit a century against the best side in the world.

Zimbabwe's next match is against South Africa Friday while Australia clashes with the Proteas Wednesday.


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