Man of the day: Shane Watson
Shane Watson showed his all-round value on Monday but still needs to do some work on his running.
By Rob Lancaster
Last Updated: 16/12/13 12:35pm
Having resumed in the morning on 29 not out, the all-rounder immediately showed his intent by taking Graeme Swann - who seemed the bowler he wanted to torture the most - for a six and two fours in the very first over.
Not only was it the perfect start for the hosts, who wanted quick runs to give themselves the chance to declare before lunch, it also kick-started a one-man onslaught by Watson.
Swann had bowled tidily and economically on the third evening but was now being taken to the cleaners, Watson launching him for three huge sixes down the ground in one over that cost 22 runs.
The hits just kept on coming - he took on the fielder at long-off when facing James Anderson, risk leading to reward as Tim Bresnan's acrobatic attempt to take a stunning catch only resulted in him falling backwards over the rope with the ball in his hand.
Yet after all these lusty blows it was a gentle tickle to fine leg that saw him reach three figures from 106 deliveries, taking the century count for the series to Australia 7 England 0.
His fun was soon ended after the landmark moment in rather comical fashion. It seemed he had been given a huge let-off when Ian Bell dropped a skier, only to be run out in the aftermath.
Watson clearly kept his eye on the ball better than the fielder, failing then to realise batting partner George Bailey had set off for a run in case the chance wasn't taken. Bowler Tim Bresnan duly picked up the loose ball as Bell turned away in disgust at his error, then threw down the stumps at the non-striker's end.
The 32-year-old could well have already been run out earlier for 51 by Joe Root during a manic morning that saw him thrash 74 runs from a mere 42 deliveries in just under an hour at the crease.
Still, his fourth Test century (and his second in four Ashes Tests, after an equally brutal 176 on the opening day at the Oval) not only allowed Michael Clarke to pull out with a lead of over 500 but also silenced those who suggested a lean start to the summer had put Watson's place under threat.
Such talk seems foolish considering Watson's importance to the side. His selection offers balance, as it gives Australia the chance to have a five-man bowling attack. At a place like Perth, and in a match where the temperatures have often been in and around 40C, such a versatile player is invaluable.
As if to rubber-stamp that point, he duly claimed the wicket of Michael Carberry in the afternoon, trapping the left-handed opener leg before from around the wicket.
Runs and wickets, Watson can provide both all in the same day. And if nothing else, his running between the wickets always livens up proceedings.