'Openers got more than expected'
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'Openers got more than expected'

The top order batting was the difference between Australia and Zimbabwe, captain Ricky Pontiong admitted on Friday.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2004 13:52 IST

The top order batting was the difference between Australia and Zimbabwe in the fourth one-day match of the triangular cricket series on Friday.

The Australian frontline batsmen responded to captain Rickey Ponting's call by coming out of the form slump with rollicking knocks, while Zimbabwe continued to struggle in their 148-run loss at the Bellerive Oval.

"Both (Adam) Gilchrist were (Matthew) Hayden were superb. I was expecting some good show from them after an indifferent start to the series. Today they got more than what I had expected," Ponting said after the home team's third win on the trot.

Gilchrist hit a career-best 126-ball 172 and Hayden 63 as the duo put on 140 runs for the first wicket to help Australia amass 344 for seven in 50 overs.

Later Ponting (37) and Damien Martyn (47 not out) also came up with notable contributions in Australia's run feast.

Zimbabwe's batting rut continued as they slumped to 93 for five before a fighting 102-run partnership between Streak (64 not out) and wicketkeeper-batsman Tatenda Taibu (44) shared 102-run for the sixth wicket to see the side finish at 196 for six.

"It was really tough once we were given a 340-plus target. Gilchrist and Hayden gave them a flying start and they had wickets at the end," Streak said.

"Unfortunately our top order batsmen struggled again although Australia also came up with some disciplined bowling. It was again a tough day in office for us," he said.Streak said he was hoping his batsmen would come up with a more disciplined performance in the remaining matches of the series.

"Now we have to work hard and put into play all our expertise in the remaining games.

"It would do a lot of good to the team if the batsmen score runs and I continue with the same form with the bat," he said.

The match witnessed a fast and furious Brett Lee's return to the side after watching the first two matches from the sidelines. Lee bowled almost at 150kmph a number of times and returned with figures of one for 29 from 10 overs.

"Good to see him back in action. He looked pretty good with the new ball. He took a wicket and in fact gave us the first breakthrough," Ponting said indicating that the bowler could be retained in the side for the next match against India in Brisbane on Sunday.

"Brisbane is a fast track with some grass. So it would suit his type of bowling," Ponting added.

Man of the match Gilchrist, who today completed 6,000 one-day runs, said he wants to carry his form to the next match.

"I would like to play the same way in the next match," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

Gilchrist admitted a couple of half chances and a short boundary at Hobart helped him pile up the runs.

First Published: Jan 16, 2004 13:52 IST