Townsville (Australia), August 31: Dominant fast-bowling was the key to Australia's comfortable eight-wicket win in their second ODI against Zimbabwe on Wednesday (August 31), holding the visitors to just 96 runs after sending them in to bat first.
Winning the toss for the second consecutive match, the Australians stuck with their strategy of bowling first on the tricky Townsville wicket, and the results were nearly immediate.
After a couple of early wides, Starc found the first wicket in his second over, swinging one into the right-handed Innocent Kaia to clip the outside of off-stump, leaving Zimbabwe at 13-1.
With Josh Hazlewood at the other end bowling at his efficient best, Zimbabwe had not scored a run by the time Starc got the ball back and took his second wicket, this time with his in-swinger coming all the way back to collect Wesley Madhevere LBW in front of his leg-stump.
After another maiden from Hazlewood, Starc had his third straight over with a wicket, this time with an edge finding substitute fielder Marnus Labuschagne in the slips.
Sean Williams went on to top-score for Zimbabwe with 29 from 45 deliveries, before a loose shot saw him caught for a wicket to leg-spinner Adam Zampa.
Zampa went on to take three wickets of his own, finishing with figures of 3-21 from 3.5 overs, while Starc took 3-24 from eight overs. Following up his maiden ODI five-wicket haul, Cameron Green took 2-7 from three overs.
With Zimbabwe all-out for 96, there was almost no pressure on the Australian batsmen, although that might have been what led to their cheap wickets.
David Warner wanted to get the job done in a hurry, with two boundaries from the first eight deliveries he faced, before a big swing resulted in a top-edge caught by a fielder at third-man.
It was good bowling from Richard Ngarava, which resulted in a two-wicket over when Aaron Finch nicked one to first slip just three balls later on a score of one.
That would be it for Zimbabwe's bowling highlights as Steve Smith and Alex Carey made it look easy the rest of the way, with Smith finishing on 47 not-out from 41 deliveries, while Carey posted 26 not-out from 33 to reach the target in the 15th over.
The third ODI will be contested on Saturday, with Australia already having secured the three-game series.