Watson makes a statement

His third one-day hundred, coupled with figures of two for 35 from 8.4 overs, earned him the man of the match award.

“It definitely wasn’t a great start to the tournament, batting-wise,” said Watson, whose progress has been blighted by a series of injuries. “I felt my bowling had been pretty good, but it was good to get going with the bat today. Ricky (Ponting) helped me a lot out, especially in the middle periods when I was finding my feet out against the slower bowlers. It was great to bring it home, it’s really nice when you have days when everything comes off.”

Skipper Ponting spoke of Watson’s increasing maturity. “Shane didn’t get a lot of boundaries early on. I got off to a bit of a flying start but he had to play second fiddle,” the captain said. “As the innings went on, I was trying to get the singles and get to the other end, making him hit all the boundaries! We have seen tonight and over the years that when he gets in and gets set, he can really dominate bowling attacks. To do it tonight after bowling eight or nine overs was really impressive.”

Watson celebrated his century exuberantly. “I have been very lucky to be a part of some big games throughout my career, not so much playing a big part in these games but learning how to deal with situations, not getting too overawed by the situation which I have been previously,” he explained. “I had been hoping to get a hundred from the first part of the Ashes. I got a few fifties but never really went on to it. It was great to have Ricky there to be able to get me through.

“The great part about being an all-rounder is that if you are not batting well, the bowling keeps you going. You know it’s not far away when both aspects of your game will come together, it’s great when it does in one day.”

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