Watson admits focus has been elsewhere
Shane Watson's brilliant match-winning century at the MCG suggested a mind focused firmly on the job, but his thoughts have been far from the cricket world over the past few days. While Watson plundered an unbeaten 161 against England, the fifth-best individual score in Australia's ODI history, the residents of his hometown, Ipswich, were starting the clean-up after devastating floods, and by Monday, he'll be there too.
Shortly after Watson brought up victory with a six in the 50th over, he was already casting his mind to Queensland and a two-day trip back home before Australia's next ODI, which is in Hobart on Friday. Watson has organised a sausage sizzle at a Bunning's hardware store in the Ipswich suburb of Booval, and he'll be doing what he can to raise funds and lift spirits.
"I haven't really been thinking about cricket too much," Watson said. "It has been all about what's been going on back home and also trying to organise things that I can do after this game to be able to help out in any way I can. It's going to be great to be able to get up to Ipswich tomorrow morning and to be able to help out. My mind has been there.
"I'm really looking forward to being able to get up there and feeling like I can have some input in some way. My family was lucky enough not to be affected, but I know some of my friends who live close to the river, and also my primary school, the grounds close to it were all flooded. It's going to be heart-wrenching to see the devastation that's there."
It will be a far cry from the MCG, where Watson thrilled the crowd with a fluent and powerful innings that featured four sixes. Right from the start, the ball fizzed off his bat with impeccable timing, and in pursuit of 295, he and his opening partner Brad Haddin ensured that Australia got to 110 in the 20th over before they lost a wicket.
By the closing stages, things became a little tighter but Cameron White helped to close things out with an unbeaten 25, which included a couple of important boundaries to long-on when Watson was tiring. But Watson had enough left in his tank to bring the fans to their feet with the first ball of the last over, when four runs were needed and he lifted Ajmal Shahzad over long-on for six.
"Cameron White was great to keep me thinking about exactly what was required and how we were going to do it," Watson said. "I was a little bit tired at that stage so for him to process it well with me, it worked out nicely in the end. To be able to get through and get a hundred, it's going to continue to build my confidence if I get close to there in Test matches."
Watson has a habit of failing to capitalise on his starts in Test cricket, where he has made 15 scores from 50 to 99, but only two centuries. However, in ODIs, he has now managed five hundreds. And none of it means as much to him as the trip he'll make to Ipswich this week.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo