Aussie hero thrilled with win
Shane Watson was delighted to have finally turned his good form into a match-winning contribution in the first ODI.
Last Updated: 16/01/11 1:52pm
Shane Watson was delighted to have finally converted his good form into a match-winning innings after leading Australia to a six-wicket victory in the first one-day international against England.
Watson finished unbeaten on 161, the fifth highest score by an Australian in the 50-over format, as the home side chased down a target of 295 with five balls to spare in Melbourne.
The Queensland-born right-hander has often been criticised for failing to turn half-centuries into hundreds, and he rued the fact that this innings had not come earlier in the season during the Ashes series, which England won 3-1 for their first triumph Down Under since 1986/87.
"It would have been nice to go on and get a bigger score in the Ashes, that would have been what I was looking for. But this is a little bit of consolation," he told Sky Sports.
"It was a nice night tonight, no doubt about that. It's nice when things fall your way and to get the team home. We felt we restricted (England) a little bit, we thought they would get well over 300.
"I was struggling for a while there and I started to cramp up a bit, I was in strife after a couple of slogs that I played.
"It is good to start 1-0 up but we have to play good cricket throughout the rest of this series, so hopefully there is more to come."
England captain Andrew Strauss rued the loss of "soft" wickets in the middle order as the tourists failed to capitalise on an impressive 78 from Kevin Pietersen, his first ODI half-century in over two years.
"Two hundred and ninety-odd is always a good score at the MCG but it was an outstanding effort from Watson, that was one of the great one-day innings," said Strauss.
"If we had taken early wickets we would have been right ahead of the game. They needed someone to anchor it and Shane Watson did that brilliantly.
"We had a platform to get 310, 320 maybe and KP getting out in the first over of the powerplay didn't help us. We lost too many wickets too softly and that is something you've got to look at.
"Kevin has struggled a little bit in one-day cricket but hopefully there is more to come from him in this tournament and in the World Cup as well.
"The defeat is hard to swallow, but we'll come back stronger in Hobart (next Friday)."