Australia v West Indies, 3rd ODI, Canberra February 6, 2013

Australia seal series after Watson century


Australia 7 for 329 (Watson 122, Hughes 86) beat West Indies 290 (Darren Bravo 86, Dwayne Bravo 51, Faulkner 4-48) by 39 runs
Live scorecard and ball by ball details

A Shane Watson century, an Australian victory. In the minds of the coach Mickey Arthur and the captain Michael Clarke, such a scenario should occur far more often, and Watson could scarcely have made a better start to life as a non-bowling batsman with a fluent innings to set the platform for a total that proved beyond West Indies in the third ODI at a resplendent Manuka Oval.

The 39-run victory sealed the series for the hosts, but they were as satisfied by the fact that minus the distraction of allround duties Watson was able to sail to three figures on an amiable pitch. His free-scoring was followed up by a contrasting innings from Phillip Hughes, scratchy early but sublime later, while George Bailey clattered 44 from a mere 22 balls before leaving the field with a tight hamstring in the evening.

Kieron Pollard had leapt outrageously to catch Glenn Maxwell, and the visiting batsmen were set a similarly high mark to win. Their pursuit threatened to amount to something when Darren and Dwayne Bravo joined forces in an attractive stand, but Mitchell Starc broke their union just when Clarke's brow was beginning to furrow, having brought himself on to bowl after leaving out the specialist spin of Xavier Doherty.

Chris Gayle batted down the order due to a side strain suffered in the field, and was to be the first of four victims for James Faulkner, who reprised his strong showing against the tourists on this ground for the Prime Minister's XI to round up the remainder of the innings.

Seeking a record chase for their region, Devon Thomas and Kieran Powell were conservative to begin with but played some handsome strokes to reach 50 inside nine overs, Starc not gaining much swing and becoming a far more hittable bowler as a result. However Thomas' stay was ended when he miscued Clint McKay.

Powell threatened a more lasting stay before he too failed to find the middle of the bat, top edging a sweep at Glenn Maxwell that was held in agile fashion by Matthew Wade, running around from behind the stumps. The Bravo brothers were soon looking comfortable however, and Clarke looked short of options on a slow surface as Maxwell's overs dried up and the visitors engineered a realistic Twenty20 scenario.

Starc's strike was critical, coaxing Dwayne Bravo to play down the wrong line the ball after a wide, and following a drinks break Faulkner disturbed the stumps of Gayle and Darren Bravo with deliveries moving first from the off, then from the leg. Faulkner's send-off for Gayle drew a word from the umpires, and there was to be little need for histrionics as the innings petered out.

Manuka's turf had provided Watson with a chance to play himself into form at the top of the Australian batting order ahead of the Test tour of India, and he was soon in firm touch, punching down the ground and through cover with comfort and also cutting profitably. While the pitch and the opposition were not of the kinds to be faced on the subcontinent, Watson's clarity suggested he may not be seeking a return to the international bowling crease any time soon.

Aaron Finch was similarly crisp, flicking neatly to the midwicket fence more than once, and the runs arrived at pace without either batsman taking many risks. Having made a halting start to his ODI career, Finch looked capable of a major score, but soon after Watson passed 50 he gave his innings away with a dainty dab from Sammy into the gloves of Thomas standing up to the stumps.

The wicket brought a downturn in the run-rate - despite a duo of Darren Sammy no-balls, the first of which was called rather harshly by the umpire Asad Rauf - as Hughes battled to settle in. A little circumspect as he neared his century, Watson reached it confidently then accelerated, swinging lustily for a pair of sixes before he was pouched at deep backward square leg.

Hughes' innings grew steadily in fluency and speed, mirroring Bailey's Perth effort in terms of the skill of building a score from a shaky base. Clarke fell cheaply, but it was a surprise when Hughes edged Sunil Narine behind short of a century, the catch completed by Thomas via thigh as well as glove after the wicketkeeper had earlier been struck a painful blow on the thumb.

Bailey's late hitting ensured the total would go comfortably past 300, and ultimately the West Indies would leave Manuka with only Pollard's catch to console them.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nicholas on February 7, 2013, 22:49 GMT

    Ah, he (Watson) aint bowling now you see. A pretend "Jack-of-all-trades" but in reality "only-fit-enough-to-be-master-of-one-at-the-most-at-any-given-time" will be found out sooner rather than later. Good knock Watto.

  • Graham on February 7, 2013, 22:14 GMT

    pappu_bhai ; Australia has not lost any of the last 3 series, two in Australia and one in Sri Lanka against sri Lanka. Australia are 2-0. So how does Sri Lanka have the advantage?

  • Rex on February 7, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Pappu_bhai Since 2003 Australia has played 42 ODI's against India. They have won 25 and lost 12 of them. You were saying?????

  • Mark on February 7, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    Thisara Pathiraja - Sri Lanka won two T20 games, drew the ODI series and were beaten 3-0 in the test series. In any case, I was much happier playing the West Indies, I have a lot of respect for Darren Sammy as a captain - he doesn't seem to whine everytime something doesn't go his way, he just gets on with the job and he has some great top/middle order batsmen and strike bowlers at his disposal, if they're given the time to develop.

  • life on February 7, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    4 players bravo,russel,pollard and sammy of similar abilities but no clear cut match winning talent is a bit of luxury in an odi team.somebody has to raise their game or be dropped.

  • Deepak on February 7, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    Pad Marlay@ You are right.Even you can lead this WI team.

  • Pad on February 7, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    There is one thing about current WI team. They are absolutely awesome in being or trying to be cool. All dancing... acting cool... bla bla bla. Doing perfectly better than their legends in 80s and 90s. However the pathetic reality is that when it comes to being at least marginally close to the great legends in their performance... they are no where near! T20 world cup was not a victory, it was a mistake by the Sri Lankans!! Even Bangladeshis proved that it was a mistake..WI better put more attention on consistent performances!!

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    It is time for the WI to permanently dump Sarwan; he has nothing left and is totally incapable of resuscitating his career. It is time for him to give way to a younger, more deserving batsman.

  • Deepak on February 7, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    I have always told Australia is better oneday team than England who is good for nothing in Onedays.But in test its reverse.But Aus cant win against certain teams like Pak,SL etc.Not even fight.They get feared agianst spin.Smilarly in the case of SL.They get demolished by India everytime.SAF is a good team but can lose to any team on any day.India is also good but against Aus and SAF we struggle.Pak has the talent but they will not use it due to internal fights.For me the next WC will be unlike the 2011 WC where India was clear favourites.In the next WC we will have a tie among AUS,SL,IND.Here is the game-->AUS Have advantage over India,India over SL and SL over AUS.But the luck factor for these teams will be decided by PAK and SAF who can win against all these teams at any time.But for Pak they are lazy and SAF they dont have the "LUCK" Factor.Lets wait whether other teams can join these teams in the top by un earthing new stars in the next couple of years.

  • rob on February 7, 2013, 2:53 GMT

    Another quality game from these two sides. WI/Oz games are nearly always entertaining and this was no exception. WI have the makings of a decent and dangerous batting side, particularly Powell and the Bravo boys. I reckon they just need to get a bit more out their bowlers and they can be very competitive in most conditions. I don't mean runs from the bowlers, though that's always a bonus, I'm talking about wickets. Holder looks a likely lad to me for that ... there are 3 Aussies who have impressed me mightily this summer. Bailey: for his mature, thoughtful and highly effective batting. Starc: for the steep learning curve he seem's to be on. It seems that he keeps getting better with every game he plays. Faulkner: Sensational use of the slower ball and other variations. He can bat too. Most impressed so far with him, with or without the expletives.