Bangladesh v Australia, 2nd ODI, Mirpur April 11, 2011

Dizzy 201*, Watto 185*

For five years Jason Gillespie has strutted about as the sole claimant to the title of most memorable Australian innings in Bangladesh. Not anymore.

Gillespie's 201 not out in the second Test in Chittagong in 2006 remains a most remarkable effort, and even now the proud nightwatchman still signs his autograph as a cheeky 'Dizzy 201'. The fact it arrived in a Test will also ensure it as revered - or jokingly reviled if you were one of Gillespie's team-mates - for as long as Australians play cricket. But Shane Watson's pulverising, unbeaten 185 to secure a series victory over Bangladesh in Mirpur was so compelling, even with the caveat of a compliant Bangladesh attack, that it should not sit a million miles from Gillespie's double century.

"It's amazing that Jason Gillespie, for how amazing a bowler he was, he still signs his name 'Dizzy 201', so it's nice I've been able to do this," Watson said. "It's my first tour of Bangladesh so it's nice to be able to come and try to show your skills to different people, [and have] people appreciate what you do; so that's a nice bonus to having a good day. It's just one of those days where everything that you try comes out of the middle of the bat, a mis-hit goes into the gap or you get dropped.

"The reason I kept going after [reaching] 100 is because I was tired, and I didn't really want to run too much; I was either going to try to hit as many sixes as I could or get out because I was pretty tired, that was as simple as it was. It was hot and humid out there, so it was nice to be able to get a few out of the middle to save my running."

As an allrounder and now the team's vice-captain, fatigue is an ever-present issue for Watson, and he revealed his preference for batting second in limited-overs contests.

"It's always actually easier batting second; although you do get pretty hot from bowling first, it means I can actually get through my batting innings knowing I don't have to bowl next and don't have to use my energy," Watson said.

"So my preferred way of playing one-day cricket personally, is actually batting second because you don't need the energy. If it comes off like it did today, I don't have to run too much. So it was definitely nice today."

Watson was playing in Hamilton in 2007 when Matthew Hayden smote the previous Australian record for an ODI innings, an effort that was ultimately overshadowed by a furious New Zealand run-chase. This time there was no doubt about the decisive nature of the innings.

Australia's pre-series planning had focused on the volume of left-arm spin to be bowled by the home side, and Watson used the angle into him to powerful effect by swinging all his 15 sixes into the arc between square leg and straight mid on.

"Some of the balls [that] I did hit over the leg side weren't that [leg side], it was more so the length that meant I could hit [so]," he said. "But then also I was targeting the short side as well, so I was batting on off stump to try to get it over to the leg side. When the ball's not turning and bouncing like it can here, it makes that shot a lot easier to execute. If it's turning and bouncing that shot's a lot harder."

At the other end, Ricky Ponting watched with admiration, perhaps reminded of his two domineering innings in Johannesburg in 2003 and 2006. "[It] made my job easy," Ponting said. "[I] just had to get a single to give him strike.

"No one expected it to get over that fast. I have been lucky to play with some great players; Watto has played some great innings ... this was an amazing innings. Some of those sixes would have cleared any boundary in the world. It probably won't sink into us for a while now, how good that [innings] was."

As for Bangladesh, the local reaction was best summed up by a wry question lobbed Watson's way as he discussed the innings with the media: "What did you have for lunch today?"

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments