Watson slays England
Opener's masterclass powers Australia to six-wicket win at MCG
Last Updated: 17/01/11 12:10pm
Watson: fifth highest ODI score by an Australian
Shane Watson finished unbeaten on 161 as Australia chased down a target of 295 to beat England by six wickets in the first one-day international at Melbourne.
Watson hammered the first ball of the final over, bowled by Ajmal Shahzad, for six over long-on to seal the victory.
The Queenslander's 150-ball contribution featured 12 fours and three sixes and was the fifth highest score by an Australian in the format, which was celebrating its 40th anniversary at the same ground where it all began.
He received good support from Brad Haddin (39) during an opening stand of 110 - and then Michael Clarke (36), Mike Hussey (21) and Cameron White (25no) as the run chase got tight.
Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen had earlier led the way for England, who were bowled out for 294 - their best ever total Down Under - two balls short of using their full allocation.
Strauss struck 63 and Pietersen 78 - his first one-day half-century for more than two years - but a late collapse denied the tourists a total in excess of 300, which they had looked well on course for throughout most of the innings.
England, who dropped Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood after his poor run of form, laid the foundation for their record score with a 90-run opening stand, from 74 balls, between Strauss and Steven Davies that was aided by an error-strewn display from the home side in the field.
Davies was afforded four reprieves inside the opening eight overs, including a missed run-out before he faced a ball and the first of three missed stumpings by Brad Haddin, before his luck eventually ran out on 42.
The Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman was bowled attempting a leg-side heave off David Hussey, whose part-time spin then induced a fine nick from Trott (6) through to Haddin.
England were fortunate not to lose a third quick wicket when Haddin botched a routine stumping with Strauss on 48.
That allowed the skipper to reach his 25th ODI half-century, from 51 balls, but just as he looked to anchor his side through the middle overs he spooned Brett Lee to Clarke at mid-wicket for 63.
Ian Bell (23) and Eoin Morgan (8) then also fell to catches in the inner ring, both off Steve Smith, to leave the onus on Pietersen at 186-5 in the 33rd over.
The South African-born right-hander, back in the team after being dropped for the summer series against Pakistan, had to ride his luck though as Haddin's calamitous day allowed him a life on 37 and he took full toll.
He immediately clubbed David Hussey for back-to-back straight sixes to bring up his first 50 in 17 ODI innings.
Another straight maximum off Xavier Doherty followed and with Pietersen increasing his tempo England eyed a 300-plus total.
Those hopes were dented when Pietersen was superbly run out by Mitchell Johnson from just the fourth delivery of the batting powerplay.
After setting off for a quick single from the non-striker's end, Pietersen was caught short as Johnson raced from his follow-through to kick the ball onto the stumps.
Some late hitting from Tim Bresnan (28) and the tail at least saw England to their record score.
Watson was the main aggressor at the start of Australia's pursuit, scoring 38 of the first 50 runs before he was offered a life when Trott spilled a tough chance running back.
The openers' century stand arrived off 104 balls but Haddin (39) departed in the 20th over after when he slog-swept Graeme Swann straight to Shahzad at deep square-leg.
The New South Wales wicketkeeper's dismissal preceded a lull as England applied the brakes - most notably Swann (1-42) - with new batsman Clarke and Watson adding just 42 in the 10 overs up to the 30th.
With the rate climbing above seven runs an over the home fans showed their frustration as Clarke struggled for fluency.
The boos soon turned to cheers when Watson reached his fifth one-day hundred, from 110 balls, before back-to-back swipes over the leg-side rope off Michael Yardy eased Australian nerves.
Australia took the powerplay at the start of the 39th over but Clarke lasted just five deliveries more before miscuing Bresnan to Shahzad at mid-off to end his 57-ball stay.
Smith was elevated to raise the rate but he made just five and when Mike Hussey looked like he might partner Watson to the end he spooned a catch to Chris Tremlett off Bresnan.
But Watson was unmovable and brought up his 150, from 142 balls, with another clubbed shot to the leg-side boundary off Tremlett, before ending the match in style with a straight six off Shahzad.
The seven-game series continues in Hobart on January 21.