Aggressive opener David Warner top-scored with an unbeaten 154 while Aaron Finch was also unbeaten on 122 runs as Australia “A” took firm control of the Castle Lager four-day series match closing on 282 for no loss after 71 overs in their first innings.
Zimbabwe XI bowlers toiled in vain under the sun at Harare Sports Club as the Aussies closed within just 18 runs of Zimbabwe’s first innings total of 300 runs.
Warner’s 154 came off 235 deliveries and included 17 boundaries and two sixes, while Finch hit the same number of fours and a six as the pair, not only occupied the crease for a long period, but also found their runs at a fast rate.
The seam attack of Christopher Mpofu, Brian Vitori and the returning Kyle Jarvis — who was given a baptism of fire on his return to international cricket — had no solution to the marauding Aussies.
Zimbabwe XI had resumed their first innings on 250 for five on the second day, but could only add just 50 runs in 17 overs before being bundled out for 300 runs in 107 overs.
Aggressive Australia “A” pace bowler Peter Siddle easily ripped through Zimbabwe XI’s tail, removing the last four batsmen to finish with impressive bowling figures of 4-45 in 19 overs.
Zimbabwe’s tail-enders just had no answers to the man who is nicknamed “Vicious” because of his ability to maintain a ruthless body-line length.
Siddle took two wickets in the 97th over when he removed night-watchman Ray Price for just eight runs and the in-form Elton Chigumbura — who scored a century in the last match — for a duck.
Four overs later Siddle would come back to haunt Zimbabwe XI after removing their last recognised batsman, Regis Chakabva, who returned a catch to him for just 18 runs.
The in-form Siddle would go on to capture the prized wicket of Chigumbura before completing his four-wicket haul with the wicket of Brian Vitori for a duck.
Zimbabwe will need quick wickets in the third day today for them to avoid an innings defeat.