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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Australia cruise to victory
One-day international, Harare: Australia 207/3 (39.4 overs) beat Zimbabwe 205-9 (50 overs) by seven wickets

Brendan Taylor
Taylor hit his second one-day half-century
Australia took their time to complete a seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the opening one-day international.

The young home side upset pre-match expectations by posting 205-9 with opener Brendan Taylor (59) and captain Tatenda Taibu (57) leading the way.

Australia were never in trouble despite Matthew Hayden's falling for a duck to Tinashe Panyangara in the second over.

Ricky Ponting (91) and Damien Martyn (74 not out) shared a stand of 144 to get home with 10.2 overs to spare.

Zimbabwe were again forced to field a second string team after sacking 15 players in a row over selection.

And they lost a wicket with only nine on the board when Stuart Matsikenyeri was caught behind off Gillespie for eight.

Vusi Sibanda followed in the 20th over and when Dion Ebrahim was bowled by Brad Williams for eight, the home side were 64-3.

Teenager Taylor and Taibu lifted the home side with a 61-run partnership, opener Taylor completing his third international half-century.

But the return of the opening attack late on brought a rash of wickets fall.

Mike Kasprowicz and Jason Gillespie took two each, and there were two run outs as the overs waned.

However the clatter continued early in the Australian innings as Hayden was caught off the exciting Panyangara's first delivery.

Fellow opener Adam Gilchrist managed a brisk 26 before falling to veteran Doug Hondo.

Ponting and Martyn made sure of the win before the Aussie captain's desire for a 16th one-day century saw him miscue a shot at Panyangara.

Michael Clarke, who had earlier been to blame for three missed chances in the field, struck the winning boundary to finish five not out.

Zimbabwe: Stuart Matsikenyeri, Brendan Taylor, Mark Vermeulen, Tatenda Taibu (captain), Dion Ebrahim, Vusi Sibanda, Alester Maregwede, Mluleki Nkala, Tinashe Panyangara, Tawanda Mupariwa, Douglas Hondo.

Australia: Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting (captain), Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Darren Lehmann, Michael Clarke, Jason Gillespie, Michael Kasprowicz, Brad Williams, Glenn McGrath.

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