Australia in Sri Lanka 2011 September 4, 2011

The new and improved Shane Watson

Armed with reverse-swing, suffocating accuracy and a pace only mildly above medium, Shane Watson has transformed into a Test bowler of international class
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Shane Watson has evolved into a Test bowler of international class by delivering the sort of stuff his younger self would have scoffed at. "Too slow," the young Watson might have said, or "too boring". Too good, in fact.

In the first Test against Sri Lanka, aided by a devilish Galle pitch, Watson returned match figures of 5 for 30 from 19 overs, splintering the hosts' middle order with a trio of lbws in the first innings then nabbing the critical wicket of Kumar Sangakkara with a brute of a ball in the second.

He did it all with shrewd reverse-swing, suffocating accuracy and at a pace only mildly above medium, far removed from the faster but ramrod straight offerings he first exhibited for Australia. Watson now admits a more measured approach in his early days as an allrounder might have resulted in his avoiding the surfeit of injuries that seemed to have stunted his playing career.

"I was trying to bowl at 170kph. And I got nowhere near it," Watson said. "As a younger guy growing up, I just wanted to bowl as fast as I possibly could because that's what I thought would get me success. Unfortunately I didn't really move the ball off the square, and all I did was angle the ball in, so it wasn't that effective.

"I have learnt from my mistakes in the past. If I had my time again I probably would have been smarter at how I approached my bowling. I now realise how important moving the ball is and it would have made a little bit of difference on my body, as a younger guy, if I was a little bit smarter in how I bowled.

"There was a period of time when my body didn't allow me to bowl 100% every ball. I realised physically I couldn't do it so I had to find another way to be effective and in the end its worked out better. I have had more success: I have been able to move the ball and conserve my body a bit."

Watson mark II first began to emerge for Australia on the 2008 Test tour of India. The visitors spent eight weeks in the country without winning a single match, but Watson's use of reverse-swing far outstripped that of any of his fellow bowlers. He has continually worked on the art ever since.

"It probably comes easier to me than some of our other bowlers," Watson said. "I think it really comes down to a bit of luck at my release point, to be able to get the seam in the right position and how I release the ball. My action helps.

"Reverse-swing can play a big part; this was probably not as flat a wicket as I have bowled on but on a normal flat wicket, if the ball is reversing, it can make [batting] difficult. It gives me an added dimension."

Missing from Watson's game in the first Test was a significant score, as he was spun out in the first innings and then victim of a questionable choice of stroke in the second. An admirably frank character, Watson is happy to agree that he is less likely to be as effective with the ball in matches where he has batted for a long period.

"I suppose it depends whether I get runs," Watson said. "I didn't get any runs this match so I had to try and have some impact and input into the game. Sometimes it's not always going to be my day with the bat and that's the great thing about being an allrounder.

"I knew in this game I was going to be quite fresh because I didn't get any runs. I knew I would have plenty in the tank to have a crack at bowling."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • hyclass on September 7, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    @VivGilchrist and @Meety.his innings of 185* and his ability to hit sixes,was BECAUSE it was against Bangladesh.The same approach against better teams is unlikey to succeed,which i believe is the point that @Meety is trying to make.Its a topic simply because he is class player who fails to convert.Its frustrating for those fans left wondering about his apparent mental lapses.This innings is relevent,because,even though conditions were testing,it demonstrates the speed of his fatiguing.He bowled seven overs, but his batting took up only 96 balls.50 from 26..100 from 69..150 from 83..Last 35 from 16.He described being too tired to run,yet the Australian innings lasted only 26 overs just over half the alloted time.It fits nicely with his Test average innings duration,of 40 runs S/R 50-80 balls, or an hour and a half to two hours. As for Bradmans example,his body stayed cool and fresh better than anyones,allowing him to retain his concentration and be sharp,every ball of every innings.

  • Meety on September 7, 2011, 0:05 GMT

    @VivGilchrist - I get your point, but Watto has been made vice captain & is the primary allrounder in the side. I think there are things he needs to work on, as I said previously below, he is a valuable commodity, something Oz have searched for 50years. On Haddins form with the bat, he was our 2nd best batsmen against the Poms, whilst in this Test his 1st innings dismissal was soft, the 2nd innings he got a ripper early.

  • VivGilchrist on September 6, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    @meety and hyclass, I'm not interested enough to buy too much into your arguement but it does seem to be a reoccurring topic that pops up. I just can't help but think that Watto is probably the most valuable player Australia has, and if he's going to score the bulk of 185 runs by hitting sixes because he's fatigued batting in hot conditions, so be it. Why don't we find some real problems like Haddins current form with the bat? I'm sure he wouldn't mind making 185 hitting sixes because he's too tired to run.

  • Meety on September 6, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    @hyclass - agree to disagree, although the Bradman example sort of backs my arguement more - LOL!

  • hyclass on September 6, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    @Meety...lets agree to disagree. I try to use evidence first and work theories to fit facts, rather than facts to fit theories. I then look for further validating evidence. In my estimation, the theory that best fits all the facts is physical deterioration causing mental deterioration. His comments in this article and after his 185* against Bangladesh seem to support it. More importantly, his Test record strongly suggests it. Kallis and Flintoff are both naturally bigger men whose stamina is a consequence of their natural size. Watsons size has been due to his physical training regime which drains the body far faster. It must be remembered that it was Bradman who believed that there were batsmen around him, equally capable of performing at his level. He attributed their relative failure to a lack of concentration. It was the SA captain who pointed with astonishment to Bradmans lack of sweating and freshness while making 299* in 40 degrees. People fatigue differently. Watson is faster.

  • Meety on September 6, 2011, 2:25 GMT

    @hyclass - a couple of other points (supporting mental v physical) is; 1. Drops his shoulders when the going gets tough (he seems to be improving a bit with this), 2. Never seems to accept when he is out or rather thinks he is unlucky to be given out, ( a couple of times he's been plum LBW - reviewed only to be proven plumb). Again not game aware. BTW - I am actually a fan of Watto's, he does need to eventually drop down to the order, but he is an absolute precious commodity as is!

  • Meety on September 6, 2011, 2:20 GMT

    @hyclass - its a bit chicken or the egg stuff re: Watto's fitness IMO. I think his problem is mental - I understand that you have put a good arguement that it is physical fitness affecting his mental. IMO far bigger blokes can run far further for longer periods than Watto in other sports, so I discount the metabolism aspect, (acknowledging that most of those sports are Winter sports v a Summer sport). I would estimate that Kallis & Flintoff were/are bigger than Watto. Also I'd argue that Watto fields in the slips mainly & so is not subject to the same rigours as often as other players. To me its purely mental. In ODI's - if he fields first, he still gets about 40 minutes to put his feet up before he comes out to bat, yet his ODI opening ave is halved when batting 2nd. I think he makes poor decisons (run-outs), that are not game aware, that don't sit with me as being physical fatigue. Its why I don't want the burden of captaincy placed on him. When he works himself out - watch out!!!

  • RandyOZ on September 6, 2011, 2:19 GMT

    @Hasnain Sarfraz, Flintoff was rubbish. He had one good series against us and suddenly he's god, what a joke. As @ponting164 showed when he check-mated @OhhhhMattyMatty, Watto is far better than Flintoff ever was, and Flintoff was only in the England team because they had zero depth!!!

  • inxia on September 6, 2011, 1:38 GMT

    When Watson was playing in junior rep sides in Australia, he batted at 4 and bowled second or third change. The closer that he gets to that role for Australia, the better he looks. He was never a Flintoff-type all-rounder and he failed when he tried to play that role. He was always more of a Kallis type, albeit a more attacking batsman than Kallis. Long term, I think he is more of a Trevor Goddard type in that he opens the batting and averages well without scoring a lot of centuries and then chips in with plenty of vital wickets. Maybe one day, we'll be talking about Watson-type all-rounders.

  • hyclass on September 6, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    I recall derision,when i first thought Watson to be a better Test bowler,than batsman.Many took it as an affront.It wasnt.I see times have changed.The point to be derived from Watsons comments are how very little stamina he has.The high probability remains,that his mental lapses when batting,are a consequence of a very fast metabolism fatiguing his body quickly and as a consequence,his mind.At 30,thats hardly likely to change and Watson should be accepted as an outstanding player who works with a body of limited endurance. How limited? The evidence suggests less than a session.He averages 40 at a S/R of 50 in Tests.Thats 80 balls for every 40.A Test session has 30 overs or 180 balls.His innings follow a pattern.He races to between 20 and 30.Loses energy.Slows and is out to a poorly executed attacking stroke between 30 and 60.His record shows 2 centuries with multiple dropped catches each.His superior ODI record can be attributed to the different field settings used improving his S/R.

  • hyclass on September 7, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    @VivGilchrist and @Meety.his innings of 185* and his ability to hit sixes,was BECAUSE it was against Bangladesh.The same approach against better teams is unlikey to succeed,which i believe is the point that @Meety is trying to make.Its a topic simply because he is class player who fails to convert.Its frustrating for those fans left wondering about his apparent mental lapses.This innings is relevent,because,even though conditions were testing,it demonstrates the speed of his fatiguing.He bowled seven overs, but his batting took up only 96 balls.50 from 26..100 from 69..150 from 83..Last 35 from 16.He described being too tired to run,yet the Australian innings lasted only 26 overs just over half the alloted time.It fits nicely with his Test average innings duration,of 40 runs S/R 50-80 balls, or an hour and a half to two hours. As for Bradmans example,his body stayed cool and fresh better than anyones,allowing him to retain his concentration and be sharp,every ball of every innings.

  • Meety on September 7, 2011, 0:05 GMT

    @VivGilchrist - I get your point, but Watto has been made vice captain & is the primary allrounder in the side. I think there are things he needs to work on, as I said previously below, he is a valuable commodity, something Oz have searched for 50years. On Haddins form with the bat, he was our 2nd best batsmen against the Poms, whilst in this Test his 1st innings dismissal was soft, the 2nd innings he got a ripper early.

  • VivGilchrist on September 6, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    @meety and hyclass, I'm not interested enough to buy too much into your arguement but it does seem to be a reoccurring topic that pops up. I just can't help but think that Watto is probably the most valuable player Australia has, and if he's going to score the bulk of 185 runs by hitting sixes because he's fatigued batting in hot conditions, so be it. Why don't we find some real problems like Haddins current form with the bat? I'm sure he wouldn't mind making 185 hitting sixes because he's too tired to run.

  • Meety on September 6, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    @hyclass - agree to disagree, although the Bradman example sort of backs my arguement more - LOL!

  • hyclass on September 6, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    @Meety...lets agree to disagree. I try to use evidence first and work theories to fit facts, rather than facts to fit theories. I then look for further validating evidence. In my estimation, the theory that best fits all the facts is physical deterioration causing mental deterioration. His comments in this article and after his 185* against Bangladesh seem to support it. More importantly, his Test record strongly suggests it. Kallis and Flintoff are both naturally bigger men whose stamina is a consequence of their natural size. Watsons size has been due to his physical training regime which drains the body far faster. It must be remembered that it was Bradman who believed that there were batsmen around him, equally capable of performing at his level. He attributed their relative failure to a lack of concentration. It was the SA captain who pointed with astonishment to Bradmans lack of sweating and freshness while making 299* in 40 degrees. People fatigue differently. Watson is faster.

  • Meety on September 6, 2011, 2:25 GMT

    @hyclass - a couple of other points (supporting mental v physical) is; 1. Drops his shoulders when the going gets tough (he seems to be improving a bit with this), 2. Never seems to accept when he is out or rather thinks he is unlucky to be given out, ( a couple of times he's been plum LBW - reviewed only to be proven plumb). Again not game aware. BTW - I am actually a fan of Watto's, he does need to eventually drop down to the order, but he is an absolute precious commodity as is!

  • Meety on September 6, 2011, 2:20 GMT

    @hyclass - its a bit chicken or the egg stuff re: Watto's fitness IMO. I think his problem is mental - I understand that you have put a good arguement that it is physical fitness affecting his mental. IMO far bigger blokes can run far further for longer periods than Watto in other sports, so I discount the metabolism aspect, (acknowledging that most of those sports are Winter sports v a Summer sport). I would estimate that Kallis & Flintoff were/are bigger than Watto. Also I'd argue that Watto fields in the slips mainly & so is not subject to the same rigours as often as other players. To me its purely mental. In ODI's - if he fields first, he still gets about 40 minutes to put his feet up before he comes out to bat, yet his ODI opening ave is halved when batting 2nd. I think he makes poor decisons (run-outs), that are not game aware, that don't sit with me as being physical fatigue. Its why I don't want the burden of captaincy placed on him. When he works himself out - watch out!!!

  • RandyOZ on September 6, 2011, 2:19 GMT

    @Hasnain Sarfraz, Flintoff was rubbish. He had one good series against us and suddenly he's god, what a joke. As @ponting164 showed when he check-mated @OhhhhMattyMatty, Watto is far better than Flintoff ever was, and Flintoff was only in the England team because they had zero depth!!!

  • inxia on September 6, 2011, 1:38 GMT

    When Watson was playing in junior rep sides in Australia, he batted at 4 and bowled second or third change. The closer that he gets to that role for Australia, the better he looks. He was never a Flintoff-type all-rounder and he failed when he tried to play that role. He was always more of a Kallis type, albeit a more attacking batsman than Kallis. Long term, I think he is more of a Trevor Goddard type in that he opens the batting and averages well without scoring a lot of centuries and then chips in with plenty of vital wickets. Maybe one day, we'll be talking about Watson-type all-rounders.

  • hyclass on September 6, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    I recall derision,when i first thought Watson to be a better Test bowler,than batsman.Many took it as an affront.It wasnt.I see times have changed.The point to be derived from Watsons comments are how very little stamina he has.The high probability remains,that his mental lapses when batting,are a consequence of a very fast metabolism fatiguing his body quickly and as a consequence,his mind.At 30,thats hardly likely to change and Watson should be accepted as an outstanding player who works with a body of limited endurance. How limited? The evidence suggests less than a session.He averages 40 at a S/R of 50 in Tests.Thats 80 balls for every 40.A Test session has 30 overs or 180 balls.His innings follow a pattern.He races to between 20 and 30.Loses energy.Slows and is out to a poorly executed attacking stroke between 30 and 60.His record shows 2 centuries with multiple dropped catches each.His superior ODI record can be attributed to the different field settings used improving his S/R.

  • Domzo on September 5, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    Just to clarify, my previous comments about Watson's batting was just considering his test record, his ODI batting is lethal.

  • on September 5, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    Best all-rounder in the world without any shadow of a doubt. From an England fan. Only Australian player I'm truly worried to see on the field against England. Ponting's brilliant when he gets going, but I've never seen anyone as terrifyingly consistent with both bat and ball like Watto.

  • Domzo on September 5, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    Actually even as an England fan I will quite happily admit that Watson impresses me. His bowling is underrated, particularly now. I think he had the same obsession with pace earlier in his career that Jimmy Anderson did with trying to bowl "magic balls", with similar results - far too many four balls, particularly where conditions don't suit. He's now a quite useful reserve seamer in all conditions and genuinely dangerous when conditions do suit him. The one knock on his batting is his lack of centuries, though given that he averages 47 as an opener while only making 2 test centuries he is at least very consistent. Something Australia do need to find is a reliable opening partner for him, he and Katich were an excellent combination, whereas I'm not so sure Hughes is the man.

  • on September 5, 2011, 9:24 GMT

    48 wickets in 28 tests is actually quite good for a batting allrounder. His role in the team is to chip in with 5-10 overs, and if he is getting one to two wickets on average in that time then he is definately doing his job. His current ratio of wickets per test is improving, and only slightly less than Kallis' record. He is a different allrounder to a player like Flintoff, who was really a bowling allrounder and therfore expected to bowl more and get more wickets. Australia have realised that Watson's best output is with the bat, and they know that the short bursts are usually going to be quality. Also, I am so happy that Copeland is in the team. We need a bowler to keep the runs tight, because that allows pressure to build and eventually wickets to fall. It means Harris, who now is the best bowler in the country, and Johnson can attack more because the third seamer isn't leaking runs, and then Watson can chip in with a few overs too.

  • on September 5, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    Hope Angelo Mathews becomes someone like Watson one day.. very similar type of players with Mathews too been cursed with lots of Injuries in his short career!

  • on September 5, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    Actually Watson was very good in helpful conditions. If you look at the allround er rankings he has been on top for some time now, but this particular effort with the ball has been one of the best. I think one of the significant aspects of this particular Australian attack was that there was constant pressure and very few boundary balls were being bowled. This was not the case in earlier series where many of the Australilans were wayward and gifted runs. Copeland and Harris were very good and tight as was Lyon in the first innings. This is a good, disciplined effort by Australia and its bowlers and although one swallow does not make a summer, it is perhaps the sign of things to come. Most importantly on a pitch that suited Sri Lanka to the t, Australia won and Watson was key. I think it i s futile to compare with other allrounders at this point in time . If he stays fit and continues to perform Australia too will perform better and hopefully move up the rankings. sridhar

  • on September 5, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    Watto has it in him to become the next freddie infact if he stays fit he will become even better than him plus there is less pressure on him as far bowling is concerned so he just concentrates on making his bowling more awesome.Aussie coming back to top if watto remains fit

  • smudgeon on September 5, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    I never thought Watto would come good - I've been far from a fan of his over the years - but he really has, especially with the ball. He seems to pick up key wickets, and weirdly enough, he seems to be the one most likely in the current circle of quicks who can run through a line-up. The team just have to make sure they keep managing his workload.

  • dsig3 on September 5, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    His bowling is so critical for us. It seems like alot of players underestimate him now. Early on in his career he was utter RUBBISH, but he is a different kettle of fish now. He understands what he is doing and does it very well. His attitude is great for it aswell. He gets under every bodies skin and when you need something to happen thats a bonus. When the ball is swinging he is incredibly handy for us. @OhhhhMattyMatty he is not a frontline bowler so you would expect the No.1 teams frontline bowlers to be better than him. He is a batsmen who can be a fifth bowler which is rare. The opposite of Flintoff who was a bowler who could slog. :)

  • Meety on September 5, 2011, 3:09 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge - bit of a theme with all your recent posts mate, OFF THE TOPIC! == == == @ jonesy2 - LOL! Good one, statistically superior on all counts to Broad! == == == @OhhhhMattyMatty - Watsons wickets per match is similar to Kallis, guess he's not much of an allrounder either! LOL! == == == @ RJHB - I agree, although Lee's S/R was world class, which was important in a pack mentality. By no means great but added variety to McGraths medium pace.

  • ponting164 on September 5, 2011, 2:31 GMT

    @RJHB. I totally agree about what happened to Brett Lee. As much as I admired Steve Waugh for his captaincy, it is one area I totally disagreed with him on. For me, he spoiled Lee in getting him in the wrong mindset completely. He was already intimidating batsmen when he first came into the side. And his control was amazing without losing his speed. Oh well, past is past. But yeah, Lee could have been so much better if it wasn't for that deluded advice from Steve. It was basically a case of trying to fix something that just wasn't broke (in fact it was brilliant). Unfortunately it had the opposite effect that Waugh was after. you are right .... Lee wasn't the same until maybe the later parts of his career, but then he was injured & that's a whole other story.

  • on September 5, 2011, 2:20 GMT

    Poor guy lost out on injuries quite a lot in his early days. He could have been a great player by now otherwise. He is a good fit for Aus now as a pretty good and somewhat consistent opener and a good bowler as well. I am sure he will keep getting better. I like this guy!

  • ponting164 on September 5, 2011, 0:25 GMT

    @OhhhhMattyMatty, Logic is a little floored there mate :) What do you consider Andrew Flintoff then? At the same stage of his career, 50 wickets in 28 Tests isn't that also laughable for a so-called all-rounder? Wow, 2 wickets more! He was an excellent bowler by the time he retired, and a fantastic batsman to watch once he got going, but it took him over half a decade to hit his straps. Tell me, how many runs per wicket did Andrew get his wickets during his initial time in the game? Try over 46 runs per wicket. So who is the better bowler during the 1st part of their career? Come to think of it....who is the better batsman at the same stage of their careers? And when you answer those embarrassing questions, who was the better all-rounder at the same stage? Watson averages 16 runs per innings more & 18 runs per wicket less than him.Don't get me wrong, even being an Aussie, I loved watching him bat & bowl. but let history be the judge on both of them when they have both retired.Cheers!

  • RJHB on September 5, 2011, 0:07 GMT

    Best comment here is from Behind_the_bowlers_arm, I couldn't have agreed more. I think Brett Lee's career, as decent as it was, could've been much better had he not been obsessed with his speed and bumpers. He started his career bowling lightning fast but he had control and movement as shown in his debut series when he destroyed the hapless Indians including Tendulkar. Then Steve Waugh got into his ear and Lee's mission in tests changed for the team. He was never the same or as good. There's been some of that with Johnson and Siddle as well in more recent years, and Watson. Get some tricks first, then you can intimidate.

  • D.V.C. on September 4, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    He didn't get much reverse in England, true. I think partly because a different ball is used there, but everywhere else in the last 2 years he has reversed it. It's also true that he doesn't bowl as much as other allrounders, but he bowls as much as Kallis. Kallis is the only fair comparison, because he is the only other allrounder who bats near the top of the order. I asked and asked, for a list of most wickets from Test players who opened the batting in the same game, but never get one, and Stats Guru can't do that query. Can anyone help? I imagine Watson would be near if not at the top.

  • OhhhhMattyMatty on September 4, 2011, 17:48 GMT

    "ahahhhaa oh how embarrassing for you and england he actually has a better average then every england bowler."

    Apart from Bresnan, Finn, Tremlett, Shahzad and Swann that is!

    Watson is no more than a containment bowler. His record suggests he's an exceptional bowler, but his injuries have allowed him to have his figures protected when he's being smacked around as he only bowls 4 or 5 overs at a time.

    When he bowls well he gets good figures, when his team are being destroyed and he's being smacked, he only bowls 10-15 overs anyway! 48 wickets in 28 Tests is laughable for a so-called all-rounder!

  • stormy16 on September 4, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    I think Watson should have got man of the match in the first test - his wickets were match changing and he used supreme skills to get them. He has also evolved from a bits and pieces player to a quality alrounder now. He was nearly done and dusted a few years ago and all of you who blame the IPL for everything under the sun - its where Watson rediscovered himself under Warne and never looked back since. He was a bowler who batted in the middle order but Warne used him as a top order bat and watson to his credit made the most of the opportunity and was a surpirse opener in the next Ashes and hasnt looked back. Now he is a key wicket for the opposition in any form of the game and with his bowling, brings alot to the table.

  • bumsonseats on September 4, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    well if he reverse swings it, i did not see much of that during the ashes and by god he had plenty of opportunity. next u will be saying johnson has the classical left armers delivery to the right handers and able to straighten the bowl. although i was in australia once when RB said he once did it. chuckles. dpk

  • thewayitwass on September 4, 2011, 12:13 GMT

    @davidpk- watson has been our best exponent of reverse swing for about 1-2 years now ever since he became a regular in the team don't know where you have been, he also is capable of speeds close to 140 on his day.. a hugely under-rated bowler.. if only we would bat him in the middle order so we could get more out of his batting!

  • on September 4, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    They dont bowl him that much as he is their opener but he is too good an all rounder. His bowling is underused.

  • jonesy2 on September 4, 2011, 11:33 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge------- ahahhhaa oh how embarrassing for you and england he actually has a better average then every england bowler. you seem to sum up england dont you? haahha

  • bumsonseats on September 4, 2011, 10:49 GMT

    i think his biggest + is his fittness. as a batter i dont think he will make massive scores. its just the way he plays , he bats in tests exactally as he bats in 1 dayers but he is very loose and on his day will get u a 50/70, but hes no hayden or langr, and in past times would not have opened but could at 6/7.his bowling is underated maybe not by the aussies, but other teams. im not sure he can reverse swing the bowl, sure in the 1st innings against SL but not seen him do it on a regular basis. all in all a good cricketer who these days can get though a series with no injuries.dpk

  • andrew-schulz on September 4, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    He did get into the 140's. He certainly cannot be described as anywhere near medium pace.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on September 4, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    Think there has been a lot of that attitude in Australian cricket. Looking at the speed gun rather than thinking about what actually works in Test cricket. Trying to be macho and not accepting that sometimes patience control & discipline is what is needed. England pointed that out brutally in the Ashes so hopefully Australia is learning. Watson's words and the selection of a control bowler like Copeland gives us hope.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on September 4, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    He pales in comparison to any of England's bowlers however...

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  • Front-Foot-Lunge on September 4, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    He pales in comparison to any of England's bowlers however...

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on September 4, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    Think there has been a lot of that attitude in Australian cricket. Looking at the speed gun rather than thinking about what actually works in Test cricket. Trying to be macho and not accepting that sometimes patience control & discipline is what is needed. England pointed that out brutally in the Ashes so hopefully Australia is learning. Watson's words and the selection of a control bowler like Copeland gives us hope.

  • andrew-schulz on September 4, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    He did get into the 140's. He certainly cannot be described as anywhere near medium pace.

  • bumsonseats on September 4, 2011, 10:49 GMT

    i think his biggest + is his fittness. as a batter i dont think he will make massive scores. its just the way he plays , he bats in tests exactally as he bats in 1 dayers but he is very loose and on his day will get u a 50/70, but hes no hayden or langr, and in past times would not have opened but could at 6/7.his bowling is underated maybe not by the aussies, but other teams. im not sure he can reverse swing the bowl, sure in the 1st innings against SL but not seen him do it on a regular basis. all in all a good cricketer who these days can get though a series with no injuries.dpk

  • jonesy2 on September 4, 2011, 11:33 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge------- ahahhhaa oh how embarrassing for you and england he actually has a better average then every england bowler. you seem to sum up england dont you? haahha

  • on September 4, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    They dont bowl him that much as he is their opener but he is too good an all rounder. His bowling is underused.

  • thewayitwass on September 4, 2011, 12:13 GMT

    @davidpk- watson has been our best exponent of reverse swing for about 1-2 years now ever since he became a regular in the team don't know where you have been, he also is capable of speeds close to 140 on his day.. a hugely under-rated bowler.. if only we would bat him in the middle order so we could get more out of his batting!

  • bumsonseats on September 4, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    well if he reverse swings it, i did not see much of that during the ashes and by god he had plenty of opportunity. next u will be saying johnson has the classical left armers delivery to the right handers and able to straighten the bowl. although i was in australia once when RB said he once did it. chuckles. dpk

  • stormy16 on September 4, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    I think Watson should have got man of the match in the first test - his wickets were match changing and he used supreme skills to get them. He has also evolved from a bits and pieces player to a quality alrounder now. He was nearly done and dusted a few years ago and all of you who blame the IPL for everything under the sun - its where Watson rediscovered himself under Warne and never looked back since. He was a bowler who batted in the middle order but Warne used him as a top order bat and watson to his credit made the most of the opportunity and was a surpirse opener in the next Ashes and hasnt looked back. Now he is a key wicket for the opposition in any form of the game and with his bowling, brings alot to the table.

  • OhhhhMattyMatty on September 4, 2011, 17:48 GMT

    "ahahhhaa oh how embarrassing for you and england he actually has a better average then every england bowler."

    Apart from Bresnan, Finn, Tremlett, Shahzad and Swann that is!

    Watson is no more than a containment bowler. His record suggests he's an exceptional bowler, but his injuries have allowed him to have his figures protected when he's being smacked around as he only bowls 4 or 5 overs at a time.

    When he bowls well he gets good figures, when his team are being destroyed and he's being smacked, he only bowls 10-15 overs anyway! 48 wickets in 28 Tests is laughable for a so-called all-rounder!