Harare: Michael Clarke scored a half-century, but was forced to retire hurt as Australia limped to 209 for nine against Zimbabwe in the fourth match of a one-day international triangular series on Sunday.
Clarke`s hamstring injury had kept him out of Australia`s first two games of the series, which also involves South Africa, and it flared up again in the course of his 68.
The Australian captain looked uncomfortable for large parts of his innings, but the injury became a real problem after he tweaked the left hamstring completing a second run in the 40th over.
Clarke continued to bat until the 43rd over, when it became clear that his difficulties between the wickets were hampering Australia`s bid for some much-needed late runs.
He had won the toss and elected to bat on the most spin-friendly pitch of the series so far, and watched from one end as his team slid to 57 for four, with all four wickets falling to spin.
Clarke dug in and shared a stand of 40 for the fifth wicket with Mitchell Marsh and then added 50 with Brad Haddin before his injury forced him from the field.
Australia`s predicament could have been even worse had Marsh not been dropped first ball, or if Haddin had been caught off one of the three chances that he offered.
Those missed opportunities cost Zimbabwe dearly when Haddin went on to hit 49 as Australia took 55 runs from the last five overs, with Ben Cutting contributing 26.
Cutting and Haddin both fell in the final over, forcing Clarke to return to the field for the final two deliveries, which included a huge six by No. 11 Nathan Lyon.
Zimbabwe used four spinners in the innings, who took a combined 6 for 117 in 36 overs, with Sean Williams`s figures of 2 for 21 in 10 overs the pick of the lot.