Colombo: Australia opener Brad Haddin slammed the ICC of investigating their World Cup match against Zimbabwe for slow batting.

"It's quite a laughable story. It's a joke," Haddin said.

Haddin and his opening partner Shane Watson scored five runs in the first two overs and 23 in the next eight. The defending champions, who eventually went on to score 262 for six, registered a comfortable 91-run victory over the minnows in the February 21 group A game in Ahmedabad.

Australia team manager Steve Bernard, too, expressed surprise at the reports.

"It was the silliest thing I've heard this week – and I've heard a lot of silly things since I've been here," Bernard said.

"I've just heard the story a moment ago and I'm not sure how to respond, except to say it would make a cat laugh. It's the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard in my life that a side can be 0-5 after two overs and that that's suspicious," Bernard added.

Earlier it was reported in the media that the slow start in the first two overs were "scrutinised by the International Cricket Council Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU)".

"Sources aware of developments said the ICC ACSU 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, 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."

Haddin, however, dismissed the claims and said the ICC ACSU had not approached the Australian team.

"It's not a case (of match-fixing), we just got off the mark a bit slowly."