Australia v West Indies, 1st ODI, Melbourne

Shane Watson marks 100th game in style

Brydon Coverdale at the MCG

February 7, 2010

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Shane Watson pulls strongly early in his innings, Australia v West Indies, 1st ODI, MCG, 7 February, 2010
Shane Watson celebrated his 100th game by top scoring with a half-century as Australia drubbed West Indies © Getty Images
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It has taken Shane Watson eight years and dozens of medical appointments to reach his hundredth one-day international but he made sure the moment was extra memorable with a Man-of-the-Match performance in Australia's crushing defeat of West Indies. Watson's 59 helped Australia set up an imposing target of 257, before he took a wicket and a catch as the 113-run win was sealed.

"It's a really special moment to be able to get 100 games," Watson said. "It's something that seemed a long, long way off the last couple of years. To be able to play 100 games and then contribute the way I did today is always nice as well."

The victory continued Australia's unbeaten run this summer, having succeeded in every match against Pakistan. Their only blemish was the drawn Adelaide Test against West Indies and with four ODIs and two Twenty20s remaining against Chris Gayle's men, their sights are firmly set on an undefeated home season.

"Of course [it's on our minds]," Watson said. "It was at the start of the summer as well from the Test matches, Ricky talked to us about it at the start of the summer to really do everything we possibly can to go through winning every single game. Unfortunately we weren't able to do that in the Adelaide Test but throughout the rest of the Tests and one-dayers we've played some really good cricket."

Australia's clinical effort has given West Indies a serious challenge to level the series in Adelaide on Tuesday but the performance of Kieron Pollard was one positive for West Indies. Pollard's career-best 3 for 45 was instrumental in stopping Australia push on towards 300 and then he top scored with 31 in the chase.

Pollard came in with the score at 4 for 44 and together with Lendl Simmons, tried to revive West Indies' hopes of victory. He holed out to long-on off Nathan Hauritz but Gayle said he had been impressed with the maturity shown by Pollard, 22, who thrived during his stay with South Australia in the Big Bash.

"The last couple of days I've seen Pollard he looked a different sort of player," Gayle said. "He looks a more confident players going into these games. I'm happy with his performance but disappointed the way he got out. That was a crucial wicket for us. He was the one guy who was looking to give us the best chance to take us home there.

"I think [he has matured], definitely. He seemed a bit more calm to me, the way he went about his batting his selection was spot on. We lost him at a crucial time but I'm sure he'll get better, no doubt about it. He's definitely a good prospect to have in the team."

Despite the quick turnaround, Gayle was confident his men could bounce back in Adelaide. They are still searching for their first ODI victory against Australia since 2006.

"Not the sort of start we wanted in this ODI series," Gayle said. "The damage already done so it's back to square one. We're looking forward to Adelaide now so hopefully we can square the series and get back in the series as quickly as possible."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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