CRICKET: Shane Watson issues timely reminder of his talent to Michael Clarke
Shane Watson was delighted to remind Michael Clarke just how brilliant with the bat he can be after the Australia skipper expressed doubts over his ability to be a specialist batsman.
In his first match back from a month out with a calf problem, Watson belted 122 from 111 balls to propel the Aussies to a series-clinching 39-run victory over the West Indies in the third ODI in Canberra.
The injury, the latest in a long line for the 31-year-old all-rounder, prompted Watson to give up bowling indefinitely and his scintillating century came at the perfect time after Clarke revealed his decision may cost him selection in the Test team.
“I’ve been looking forward to that for the last four weeks to be able to get out there on a really nice wicket and get a few out of the middle,” Watson said.
“It was one of those days that you dream of, that everything from the first ball feels like it’s coming off the middle of the bat. It was a very beautiful wicket out there so you knew if you hit through the line of the ball you were a good chance of finding the middle.”
Australia posted the daunting target of 329 for seven at the Manuka Oval as Watson, who smashed 12 fours and two huge sixes, shared partnerships of 89 with fellow opener Aaron Finch (38) and 112 with the in-form Phil Hughes (86).
The Windies began the chase well enough, coasting to 195 for two in the 35th over with the Bravo brothers, Darren and Dwayne, looking strong. However, Mitchell Starc (one for 50) bowled the latter for 51 before James Faulkner (four for 48) removed Darren (86) and the dangerous Chris Gayle (two) to scupper the tourists’ chances, who were all out for 290 in the 48th over.
The victory secured the hosts an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, with dead-rubber matches still to come in Sydney tomorrow and Melbourne on Sunday. And Watson can’t wait to continue his comeback, particularly as he heads to his home patch at the SCG.
“I’m just so excited tom be back playing,” he added. “The four weeks [off] was nice in a certain way to be able to spend a fair bit of time with my wife who’s still growing in size with the baby on the way. But I’m certainly excited to be out here and especially to be able to play in Sydney which I love.”