Aussies embarrassed by loss

2014-09-01 12:14
Darren Lehmann (Gallo)

Melbourne - Australia's shock one-day international defeat to minnows Zimbabwe has raised alarm bells five months before the country co-hosts the World Cup while exposing the team's continued struggles to master spin bowling.

QUIZ: Tackle Sport24's virtually impossible yet highly addictive quiz!

Coming off a long break following Test series wins against England and South Africa, Australia arrived in Harare for the triangular one-day tournament with South Africa refreshed and optimistic, but the three-wicket loss to Zimbabwe will have done little for the team's confidence after defeat to the Proteas and an injury to captain Michael Clarke.

Sunday's loss was Australia's first in 30 years to Zimbabwe and the nation's media ranked it highly among the country's deepest cricketing humiliations.

"There's one word that's been used more than any other to describe Australia's defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe on Sunday," one critic wrote on a News Ltd website on Monday.


Clarke, who battled to an unbeaten 68 and retired hurt during a paltry innings of 209, was heading home to Australia on Monday for scans on his injured hamstring, leaving his team-mates with some harsh parting words.

"It's a terrible performance, there's no doubt about it," he told reporters. "Forget the opposition, I think we played some average cricket at best throughout the whole game.

"We play like that we're not going to beat any team so whatever team's selected we have to perform better than we did today.

"The players will be having a think about their performance as well."

During the Test series wins over the home summer, Australia's vaunted pace attack papered over the cracks of the team's batting line-up, but Zimbabwe spinners Sean Williams and Prosper Utseya captured four cheap wickets and slowed the scoring to a trickle as the tourists' vulnerability to disciplined spin re-appeared.

"I think credit needs to go to Zimbabwe," Clarke added. "I think their spinners bowled really well to us, they used the conditions really well.

"Obviously we didn't bat very well at all. And then they played spin really well. They bowled a lot better than us.

"We continually talk about facing spin bowling as an Australian team. It seems to be an area that we continue to struggle in and today's another example of that."


Since taking over from the sacked Mickey Arthur last year, laid-back Australia coach Darren Lehmann has had little cause to berate his team but was incensed by the bloodless performance at the Harare Sports Club.

"There's probably not enough expletives in the English language at the moment for the way I'm feeling," Lehmann said in quotes published by News Ltd media on Monday.

"It's just embarrassing for everyone involved in the touring party, and I hope they're hurting.

"They should be.

"We've got to learn really quickly because teams are going to see that and they're going to react to it."

Repairing dressing room harmony has been a corner-stone of Lehmann's tenure, but a frustrated Clarke made rare criticism of selectors for omitting middle order batsman Steven Smith.

"I think our middle order batting certainly missed Steven Smith," he said. "He's a very good player of spin. It was disappointing he wasn't out there to combat those conditions but that was the way the selectors went.

"It's tough for the selectors to pick what you think is the best 11.

"Fortunately they won't have to worry about me in the next game, so there's one they won't have to worry about."

Clarke will hope to be fit for the one-day series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates starting October 7.

Australia's next match in the triangular series is on Tuesday against South Africa when George Bailey is expected to lead the side.

Read more on:    michael clarke  |  darren lehmann  |  cricket

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

The Proteas have announced plans to play a four-day Test against Zimbabwe starting on Boxing Day. What do you make of this?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.