Australian changes open door for Zimbabwe
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Australian changes open door for Zimbabwe

Australia will rest opening maestro Adam Gilchrist from the starting line up and elevate a desperately out-of-form Damien Martyn to the position.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2004 17:40 IST

Zimbabwe will get their best chance yet to topple world champions Australia in the tri-nation one-day cricket series when the two teams meet at the Adelaide Oval on Monday.

The host-nation will rest opening maestro Adam Gilchrist from the starting line up and elevate a desperately out-of-form Damien Martyn to the key batting position.

Gilchrist's wicketkeeping role will also be taken by New South Wales state custodian Brad Haddin.

Martyn has spent very little time at the crease in the one-day series so far, having made just 69 runs in five innings with a top score of 47 not out against Zimbabwe.

The Australian batting line-up will be further unsettled with the expected reshuffle up the order of both Michael Bevan and Michael Clarke to fill the number four and five berths.

Captain Ricky Ponting will remain at first drop.

Despite the changes, Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak was remaining realistic.

"Teams like Australia have so many people sitting on the sideline, quality players chomping at the bit to come in and who would be playing international cricket in most other countries," Streak said

"We can't just rest on our laurels and think we've had a couple of reasonable games so we're just going to rock up and be competitive against the world champs.

"It's always nice not to bowl to the likes of Gilly (Gilchrist) ... but there's plenty of other guys batting well."

Ponting said he was promoting Martyn to opener to give him the chance to build a big innings.

"He's got a great record opening the batting for Australia," Ponting said.

"He needs a little bit of time in the middle, so he's going to get his chance tomorrow.

"It (opening) just gives you a bit more of an opportunity, a bit more of a chance I think, to get in and get settled."

Ponting said he had tossed up between Martyn and Michael Clarke to replace Gilchrist at the top of the order, but Martyn had leapt at the opportunity.

"Damien was extremely keen to do it so he got the nod," Ponting said.

Australia are on top of the standings in the three-nation competition, having lost only once to India while Zimbabwe have yet to win a match.

But the Africans are getting closer to a breakthrough and had every right to consider themselves unlucky in their last match against India in Adelaide on Saturday, losing by just three runs.

They were expected to stick with the same team on Monday but were likely to promote Dion Ebrahim to opener, and move struggling Vusi Sibanda down the order.

Australia (from): Ricky Ponting (captain), Damien Martyn, Matthew Hayden, Michael Bevan, Michael Clarke, Simon Katich, Andrew Symonds, Ian Harvey, Andy Bichel, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Brad Hogg, Brad Williams.

Zimbabwe (likely): Heath Streak (captain), Dion Ebrahim, Grant Flower, Travis Friend, Stuart Carlisle, Sean Ervine, Vusi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu, Andy Blignaut, Ray Price, Douglas Hondo, Blessing Mawhire (12th man).

First Published: Jan 25, 2004 14:39 IST