Australia opts to bat, captain Clarke returns

Australian cricket players walk off the pitch after they lost to South Africa by 7 wickets at the end of the cricket One Day International match against South Africa in Harare Zimbabwe, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The two teams are in Zimbabwe for a triangular ODI series with Zimbabwe. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Michael Clarke returned from a hamstring injury to captain Australia and opted to bat first in a triangular series one-day international against Zimbabwe on Sunday.

Clarke is making his first appearance at the tournament and was one of three changes for the Australians after a seven-wicket loss to South Africa this week. Allrounder Steve Smith made way for Clarke. Bowlers Ben Cutting and Nathan Lyon come in for Mitchell Johnson and Kane Richardson.

Clarke was also playing his first international game in six months.

Host Zimbabwe is winless from its first two games in the triangular at Harare Sports Club and needs to beat Australia to have a chance of making the Sept. 6 final. The third team, South Africa, leads the standings with two wins from two games, followed by Australia with a win and a loss.

Zimbabwe made one change for its second meeting with Australia, picking seamer Donald Tiripano in place of left-armer Brian Vitori. Australia won by a convincing 198 runs when they met in the series opener last Monday.



Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (captain), Tino Mawoyo, Sikandar Raza, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Malcolm Waller, Prosper Utseya, Donald Tiripano, John Nyumbu, Tendai Chatara.

Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Ben Cutting, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon.