Team manager Steve Bernard has dismissed as “ludicrous” claims Australia’s openers are under investigation from the International Cricket Council for slow batting in their World Cup match against Zimbabwe.

Australia’s openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin struggled against the African minnow’s spin bowlers early in their innings in the February 21 Group A game in Ahmedabad, reaching 0-5 from two overs and 0-28 off the first 11 overs.

They eventually made 6-262, with Haddin scoring 29 off 66 balls.

Zimbabwe were dismissed for 171.

“The slow rate of scoring in the first two overs was scrutinised by the ICC anti-corruption and security unit,” website said in a report from the national wire service, Press Trust of India.

“Sources aware of developments said the ICC ACSU (Anti-Corruption Security Unit) had carried out a quiet review of the match after questions were raised over the slow start taken by Watson and Haddin.

“With the spectre of spot-fixing now looming over international cricket following the bans on three Pakistani players for spot-fixing last year on the England tour, sources said the ICC ACSU was keeping a vigilant eye on all matches in the World Cup and the slow start by the Australian openers caught their attention.”

Bernard confirmed the ICC ACSU had made no approach to the Australian team while Haddin said the entire issue was a joke.

“You guys are better than that to know that’s not the case,” Haddin told a press conference in Colombo on Tuesday when asked if he was under investigation.

“That’s quite laughable, actually.”

Bernard dismissed the report was nonsense.

“It’s the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard in my life, that a team could be none for five after two overs and that’s suspicious?” Bernard said.

“I think it’s the silliest thing I’ve heard this week, and I’ve heard a lot of silly things since I’ve been here.”