Australia made amends for last week’s seven-wicket loss to South Africa, dismantling the Proteas in a 62-run victory on Tuesday night to book another re-match in the final of the Zimbabwean one-day international tri-series event in Harare.
Mitch Marsh produced a stunning 86-run (not out) innings off just 51 deliveries to help steer the Aussies into the triangular series final after the embarrassing three-wicket loss to the lowly host nation on Sunday.
The 22-year-old batted at No.6 and responded with his best performance representing Australia to date. Marsh smashed an incredible 64 runs from his first 24 balls faced and then backed up his early form to knock South African bowler Dale Steyn for three consecutive sixes in the 47th over to cap off the memorable innings.
Marsh combined his stellar work with the bat to also collect two wickets from his five overs with the ball, helping to dismiss danger men Hashim Amla (17) and JP Duminy (16) while Phil Hughes pitched in with a handy 85 and Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell and Kane Richardson each provided two wickets apiece.
Clarke, originally hoping to play in the September 6 final, flew home earlier this week after his hamstring injury failed to heal. The Test hero hit out at the exclusion of Steve Smith in Sunday’s embarrassing loss to Zimbabwe, receiving a “keep it between us” from his coach via the media.
Clarke chose to address questions about the gag order upon his return home.
“That’s Boof’s (Lehmann’s) opinion, ” Clarke said at Sydney airport.
“I have always been open and honest to the media and that’s not going to change.
“I made my thoughts clear after the game. As I have always said, my goal as captain of Australia is to win every game, there is no easy game as we have just seen.
“We have to respect the fact that no matter what 11 we put on the field, if we play the way we did the other night, we are not going to win many games at all.”
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