A master, a blaster, a limping captain
Shane Watson 105* v New Zealand
Champions Trophy final, Centurion
Watson's best innings at international level, a century that earned him his second Man-of-the-Match award in successive Champions Trophy finals, was the key to yet another global title for Australia. In the face of a hostile opening spell from Kyle Mills and Shane Bond, Watson went into Test mode, playing them out as if in the first session on a green-top under overcast skies. Once the opening bowlers were taken off, Watson turned it on - from 7 off 28 he motored along to 49 off 72 - to take the game away from New Zealand.
Tillakaratne Dilshan 160 v India
first ODI, Rajkot
In an astonishing one-dayer Dilshan powered Sri Lanka as they went after India's almost insuperable 414. With a full-throttle approach his only option, Dilshan came out with genuine intent and no little menace. He pulled and cut anything short or wide, and drove precisely down the ground when the ball was pitched too full. Just for variety, he threw in a couple of scoops as well, each evading the fielder placed at short fine leg to stop it, and sprinted to 160 off just 124 deliveries. When he was dismissed, Sri Lanka's chances were bright: they needed 76 off 65 deliveries. But in the event they fell short by four runs.
Sachin Tendulkar 175 v Australia
fifth ODI, Hyderabad
It was the India of the 90s all over again: Tendulkar almost chased 351 on his own, but with the target in sight he got out and the rest choked, falling short by three runs with two balls to go. Wickets kept falling around him but Tendulkar gave the bowlers only one half-chance all through his innings. All night they couldn't get an uncouth shot out of him. He came out of a relatively lean patch, kept the pace up without taking undue risks, and played mostly regular cricket shots; and though support wasn't always forthcoming from the other end, Tendulkar took the fight to the opposition, counterattacking each time a wicket fell.
Graeme Smith 141 v England
Champions Trophy, Centurion
South Africa had entered the Champions Trophy as favourites, but after a loss to Sri Lanka they were facing the ignominy of exiting yet another global tournament on home soil at the very first hurdle. After England piled on 323, Smith let loose with a flurry of boundary-hitting to single-handedly keep South Africa in the hunt. After he got to his hundred, he was visibly struggling with cramps, and the asking rate was spiralling out of control. Denied a runner by Andrew Strauss, a hobbling Smith was finally ninth man out for 141; the next highest score in the innings was 36.
Shoaib Malik 128 v India
Champions Trophy, Centurion
In one of the most hyped matches of the year, India's bowlers had reduced Pakistan to 65 for 3 after being carted for 51 off the first seven. Malik and Mohammad Yousuf soaked up the pressure and milked the bowling in the middle overs. Once he was well set, Malik toyed with the unimaginative Indian attack - going over extra cover, beating third man, and also hitting the odd straight shot. He went on to his fourth ODI century against India and guided Pakistan to what proved a winning total.