Cricket

Australia handed spin lesson

2014-08-31 21:09

Harare - Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke says hosts Zimbabwe bowled and batted well "and showed us how to play spin".

 He was addressing the media after Zimbabwe beat them the first time in 31 years in the ODI tri-angular series.

 Zimbabwe scored 211 for the loss of seven wickets, overhauling   Australia's below-par 209-9 on a tough batting strip at the Harare Sports Club.

Clarke made an unbeaten half-century for Australia, but re-injured his hamstring in only his country's second loss ever to the southern African team and said he would leave the tournament to return home for treatment.

"Definitely not enough runs," Clarke said, "but credit to Zimbabwe, they bowled well and batted well.

"We lost the match during our innings and Zimbabwe showed us how to play spin.

Clarke hit his half-century in his first international in six months and after passing a fitness test to play, but retired hurt in the 43rd over just as Australia appeared to be slowly recovering from a poor start.

The Aussies had been 97-5 after Zimbabwe's spinners struck early and quickly, but Clarke built a 50-run stand with Brad Haddin (49) before he made the decision to limp off and limit any damage to his hamstring.

Haddin was supported by Ben Cutting (26) down the order but Australia ultimately didn't have enough runs and offspinner Nathan Lyon's 4-44 couldn't save Australia.

Zimbabwean captain Elton Chigumbura said he and his team-mates worked very hard to beat Australia.

Chigumbura's 52 not out led his team to a famous three-wicket win.

He said: "I had to be there until the end.

"The most important thing was to stay calm. The guys worked very hard for this and the supporters were behind us throughout."

Teammate Prosper Utseya, whose 30 came off just 28 balls to help carry Zimbabwe home, sealed the win by launching a six over mid-wicket.

It was Zimbabwe's first win over the currently top-ranked Australians since they met in ODIs for the first time at the 1983 World Cup.

The tense victory - sealed with two overs to spare but after Zimbabwe was struggling at 156/7 - sparked rare celebrations and a lap of honour for a team that recently lost two ODIs in a row to draw a series with lowly Afghanistan and had been beaten in its previous seven one-dayers at home.

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