1st ODI: Australia Vs England At Melbourne – Australia’s “What-A-Son”!




Shane Watson

Shane Watson

Australia’s prodigal son, Shane Watson has been a figure of grit, focus and determination for over a few years, after his impeccable stint at the inaugural IPL. Ajmal Shehzad would have had visions of making it a contest when Australia needed 4 runs off the last 6 deliveries. But this Queensland lad had different ideas. Taking full control of the full toss gifted by Shehzad, Watson made no mistake in dispatching it over the midwicket boundary. He played the lead role in Australia thrashing England by 6 wickets and leading the 7 game Commonwealth Bank Series 1-0.

A fielding performance that Australia would most likely want to forget, Watson’s knock is certainly going to do some damage control off the field. Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was the chief culprit who missed as many as 3 stumping chances including that of Andrew Strauss on 48 & Kevin Pietersen when he was on 37. Pietersen, who was making a comeback in the team after being dropped from the summer series against Pakistan, responded with two sixes off David Hussey and a third one later to Xavier Doherthy, straight into the side screen and went on to make 78 runs off 75 balls. This was his first half century after the 111* against India in November, 2008. It was also accompanied by a disastrous run of play when the English wicketkeeper batsman, Davies survived a run out without even facing a delivery before he was caught hooking off Brett Lee only to be called as a no ball by the umpire’s review! Davies eventually got out to David Hussey before he made a useful 35 ball 42. He ably supported Andrew Strauss (63) who set a solid foundation by putting up 90 for the first wicket and a road to an emphatic total. England went on to register 294 all out on a wicket where chasing under lights and working the spin and soft ball was a mammoth pursuit.

But an inspired Australian side had it under control for almost throughout their innings apart from the painful innings from Michael Clarke who eventually helped himself by driving straight to mid-off. He was booed in front of his home supporters and was cheered when he got off strike. I left you wondering if he was a able successor to the no. 3 spot of Ricky Ponting, leave aside the captaincy! This was probably the only phase throughout their bowling when England thought they had a chance. Steve Smith was promoted to number 4 ahead of the Hussey brothers and he hardly justified the decision by swinging wildly in the power plays and gifting his wicket.

Watson’s 161* (150 b, 12×4, 4×6) was not only his career best but also triggered the highest successful chase at the MCG. After a whole summer of getting out after getting starts and fifties and scores in the Ashes that left you wanting for more, it was only a matter of time when he came up with a significant performance. And what better than a mammoth ton! The only chance he gave away was to Chris Tremlett , when he top edged a pull but Jonathon Trot couldn’t back peddle far enough to take the catch at mid on. He was ably supported by Brad Haddin who made sure scoring quickly off the new ball before the spinners and the slow bowlers could make a statement. He made an able 39 runs apart from Hussey’s 15 ball 21 and Cameroon white’s 25* who saw Australia through.

England wouldn’t be too proud of as they had their moments in the game but failed to capitalize on them. The morale of the two sides would be drastic at the moment but a welcome change. This match has nicely set up the tournament as both the sides have huge talent and winning habit is what they are looking for at the moment before the ICC Cricket World Cup. Australia still has a lot to do before we can call them back on track and a lot of drawbacks need to be redressed. But as of now the Aussies are a happy unit and that’s the first step towards the road of rebuilding that they are on!

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