Zimbabwe registered a historic first-ever victory in any format on Australian soil by winning the third and final ODI at Townsville on Saturday by three wickets. Chasing 142 for a win, captain Regis Chakabva played a pivotal role to steady the Zimbabwe innings and take them home in 39 overs despite wickets tumbling at the other end. Chakbava was unbeaten on 37 off 72 balls. Opener Tadiwanashe Marumani (35), and Tony Munyonga (17) lower down the order also made useful contributions to make the chase possible.
The victory, however, was set up by all-rounder Ryan Burl's efforts with the ball. The leg-spinner claimed five wickets as underdog Zimbabwe dismissed Australia for a lowly 141.
After Australia clinched the series with crushing victories in the opening two games, Burl (5-10) starred with career best ODI figures as Zimbabwe looked to avoid a clean sweep in their first series Down Under since 2004.
Their accurate attack claimed regular wickets against a misfiring Australia batting order, with star opener David Warner playing a lone hand with 94 before they were bowled out in the 31st over.
In a confidence boost, Zimbabwe skipper Regis Chakabva won the toss for the first time in the series and his quick bowlers exploited the seaming conditions at Riverway Stadium.
Under-pressure Australia skipper Aaron Finch has been struggling for runs and hoped for a long stint at the crease.
But his hopes were dashed when he was caught at second slip for five off the pace bowling of nemesis Richard Ngarava, who dismissed Finch for a third straight time.
Zimbabwe were on a roll when recalled Victor Nyauchi trapped in-form Steve Smith lbw for one after the star batter unsuccessfully reviewed the decision.
Australia spiralled further at 31-3 when an impatient Alex Carey was caught behind, leaving Warner to rebuild the innings.
After a slow start, Warner counterattacked in trademark belligerent style but wickets continued to fall around him.
He finally found strong support from Glenn Maxwell, who clubbed 32 from just nine balls in game one, as they combined for a 50-run partnership.
But Burl changed the game when he entered the attack in the 27th over to dismiss Maxwell (19) and Ashton Agar two balls later for a duck.
In his next over, Burl claimed the key wicket of Warner, who holed out trying to reach his 19th ODI century.
Burl's whirlwind five wickets in 18 balls ensured Zimbabwe bowled out Australia for the first time in ODIs as they moved closer to a consolation victory.