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Shane Watson shows what Australia have been missing

February 6th 2013 22:07
Australia made one change to the XI that won the first two matches of the five game series.
The returning Shane Watson replaced Usman Khawaja, who will fly out tomorrow with the first draft of players for the Indian tour. The West Indies brought in Andre Russell for Jason Holder.

A blistering century from Shane Watson delivered a one-day international series victory to Australia in Canberra as the West Indies let slip a promising position in the run chase. The West Indies were bowled out for 290, 39 runs shy of Australia's massive total of 7-329 at Manuka Oval. The win gives Australia an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-game series.

The visitors were cruising at 2-195 before Mitchell Starc (1-50) was reintroduced into the attack and knocked over Dwayne Bravo for 51. Bravo's exit sparked a middle-order collapse as Chris Gayle's lean trot with the bat continued when he was clean bowled for two by James Faulkner (4-48). Faulkner then backed it up three balls later, knocking over danger man Darren Bravo for 86. West Indies all rounder Kieron Pollard was then run out by a brilliant piece of fielding by Mitchell Johnson - leaving the tourists well and truly reeling at 6-234.

Late cameos from Andre Russell (43) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (12) weren't enough to get the West Indies across the line and the tail was soon knocked over.

Australia's win was built on the back of a classy innings from man of the match Shane Watson, who constructed a patient hundred at just under a run a ball, before putting his foot down on the accelerator to finish at 122 off 111, with the innings featuring 12 fours and two sixes including a 114-metre monster - the biggest of the summer. His downfall came when he holed out to Kieron Pollard at deep backward square leg off the bowling of Kemar Roach. Australia finished its 50 overs at 7-329 in front of a sellout crowd just under 12,000. It is the first century Watson has made for Australia in any format of the game since he smashed 185 not out against Bangladesh in a one-dayer in April 2011. Part of the reason Watson had such a lean run with the bat can be attributed to a horror run of injuries he's had from his high workload as an all-rounder. Watson only returned to the Australian side after injuring his calf during the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka. The NSW star admitted during the week he'd love to continue bowling for Australia but told reporters he'd consider giving it up if he was hitting the ball well enough.
However, Captain Michael Clarke has shown less enthusiasm for the move, saying he would like to see Watson continue as an all-rounder.

"If he's at the top of his game and he's not bowling, in my opinion he's still in our top six batters in all three forms of the game," Clarke said.
"(But) I would really like Shane to be an all-rounder. I think it's been his greatest asset to our team."

The hosts made a sizzling start after Clarke elected to bat at Manuka Oval. Watson was in sparkling form and shared in a second-wicket stand worth 112 with Phil Hughes. Hughes made 86 as Australia looked to post a massive total on the relatively small ground. Aaron Finch (38) and Michael Clarke (15) both failed to capitalize on steady starts. Million dollar man Glenn Maxwell (4) looked to be the man to bring Australia home with his big hitting before he was caught by Pollard one handed in one of the all-time great boundary-rope catches. The ball looked to be heading for a certain six before Pollard leapt up, plucked the ball out of the air, and rolled back onto the earth just centimeters from the rope. He pulled off a similarly impressive vertical leap just two overs later when he dismissed George Bailey, who backed up Sunday's match-winning century with 44 off just 22 balls. West Indies' captain Darren Sammy promised more fight after the twin losses in Perth but the tourists were sluggish in the field early in the Australian innings.

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