Australia was too good for Zimbabwe in the first of their three-match ODI series on Saturday, riding some dominant bowling from Cameron Green to a five-wicket victory.

Winning the toss and opting to bowl first, the Australians clearly felt their bowling attack could restrict Zimbabwe to a manageable total, but the visiting side started well in Townsville.

Zimbabwe's openers safely navigated the opening 10 overs, before Innocent Kala was caught-and-bowled by Mitchell Marsh to make it 42-1, but the partnership of Tadiwanashe Marumani and Wessly Madhevere looked resolute.

Australian quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood would have felt they were unlucky to not take any wickets in their opening spell, but despite some loose shots and near-catches, Zimbabwe built a healthy platform of 87-1.

Marumani ended up playing all around a straight one from Adam Zampa to be dismissed on 45 from 61 deliveries, and once he was gone, Madhevere starting losing running-mates quickly.

Six of the last seven batsmen to come to the middle were dismissed for no more than seven runs, with Regis Chakabva's 31 from 33 deliveries the last piece of resistance before Madhevere was caught-and-bowled by Zampa on 72 from 91.

A late onslaught from the Aussie attack turned 185-4 into all-out for 200, as Cameron Green rattled off five quick wickets to clean up the tail, finishing with personal figures of 5-33 from nine overs. Zampa was Australia's only other multiple wicket-taker, collecting 3-57.

With such a low target required, the Australians knew they could take their time, as evidenced by their top-three batsmen all going at a pace slower than a run-per-ball.

David Warner controlled proceedings early, surviving a close third-umpire referral when the Zimbabwe wicketkeeper was convinced he heard a feathery touch, going on to score 57 from 66 deliveries before being bowled.

Steve Smith came in at three and was far from in a hurry, methodically playing his way to 48 from 80 deliveries, before Glenn Maxwell came in at number-seven to race towards the finish.

Maxwell only saw nine deliveries, but he sent three to the rope along the ground, and three over the rope on the full on his way to a rapid-fire 32 runs – finishing the game with a big six.

Ryan Burl was expensive for Zimbabwe with the ball, giving up 60 runs in seven overs, but he was also their only multiple wicket-taker, collecting memorable scalps of Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey and Marsh.

The second match of the series will take place on Wednesday, with the third scheduled for Saturday.