HARARE — Australia’s coach Darren Lehmann has said his men should be embarrassed by their loss to Zimbabwe, despite conceding that he and his fellow selectors erred when picking the side.
Zimbabwe’s spinners caused problems throughout Australia’s batting innings before Elton Chigumbura and Prosper Utseya saw Zimbabwe home in the chase of 210. It ended a 31-year drought since Zimbabwe last beat Australia in a one-day international and resulted in Australia slipping from first to fourth on the ICC one-day rankings.
“There’s probably not enough expletives in the English language at the moment for the way I’m feeling,” Lehmann told reporters after the game. “It’s just embarrassing for everyone involved in the touring party, and I hope they’re hurting. They should be.”
The most notable deficiency in Australia’s game was their handling of Zimbabwe’s spinners, who between them collected six wickets, including the first four wickets that left Australia wobbling at 57 for four.
It was the recurrence of an ongoing theme in Australian cricket, where capitulations often occur in slow, turning conditions.
Although next year’s World Cup will be played on faster, bouncier pitches in Australia and New Zealand, the Australians must still find a way to handle good spinners in helpful conditions.
Not surprisingly, Michael Clarke looked the most comfortable until he retired hurt with a hamstring problem, but the selectors had omitted another good player of spin, Steven Smith.
Clarke said after the game that it was “disappointing” Smith was not picked, and the Australians also hurt their chances in the match by resting Mitchell Johnson. However, Lehmann said the team chosen should still have been able to account for the tenth-ranked one-day team in the world.
“By the end of the result, we probably thought we did get it wrong,” Lehmann said of the selections.
“But if we can’t beat Zimbabwe with that side we’ve got problems, so we’ve got to sort them out.
“We’ve got to learn really quickly because teams are going to see that and they’re going to react to it.”
Australia will still make the final of the tri-series unless they lose to South Africa today and then Zimbabwe upset South Africa in the last match on Thursday.