<
>

All-round Watson punishes England

Shane Watson pulls powerfully as he returns to form AFP

After three consecutive ducks, Shane Watson had to pull off something special to justify not only his position at the top of the order but also his place in the side. Watson came into this game under a bit of pressure but he managed to silence his critics with an innings of savagery.

It was an ideal day in the field for him. With the ball in hand, he bowled an excellent line to the left-handers and managed two wickets. He bowled a short one to Eoin Morgan, cramped him for room to cut and managed to induce a thin edge to the keeper. England's in-form player had struggled to put the runs on the board today and Watson dismissed him before he could get set. He later sent Steve Davies' off stump for a spin off an inside edge while trying to defend a delivery which nipped back in.

But it was his batting which stood out. Chasing 258, Ponting chalked up his 28th one-day century, and his 12,000th run in the format, en route to an unbeaten 111 from 115 balls, while Watson provided the gloss finish with 136 not out from 132 balls, his third and highest hundred in 89 games. Watson's only genuine let-off came when Luke Wright strayed out of position on the long-on boundary, and spilled a catch off Graeme Swann over the rope for his first six.

His fierce on-side shots lit up the sky. He got to his century with one such pull which just cleared deep midwicket. As soon as it left the bat, he raised his arms and let out a cry. A majority of his shots peppered that region behind square and one such six injured a spectator trying to go for the catch. The ball traveled flat and quick off the bat and it was the spectators at the grass embankment who were scurrying for cover. In the end, he smashed seven sixes and ten fours, boundaries constituting 82 off his 136 runs.