Watson returns from Test wilderness

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/w/watson.jpg' class='caption'> Allrounder Shane Watson was having the time of his life on his return to the Australia side for the first of four Tests against India.

Updated: October 12, 2008 13:35 IST
  • Total Shares


After three years in the Test wilderness, cricket allrounder Shane Watson was having the time of his life on his return to the Australia side for the first of four Tests against India.

Watson's most important contribution in the match so far came when he and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (28 not out) helped lift Australia from a perilous 128 for 5 in the second innings with a 65-run unbeaten partnership.

At stumps Australia was 193-5 wickets and had a lead of 263.

Watson compiled a nerveless 32 not out from 67 balls and was ecstatic with his input over the first four days.

"This Test has been the most fun I've ever had playing cricket," he said. "It's been an amazing learning experience. Just batting out there is the most I've ever learnt in an innings."

Watson overcame the duel dangers of offspinner Harbhajan Singh, who was responsible for the early damage with 2-76, and the searing reverse swing of Zaheer Khan.

"Its been an amazing three or four days so far," he said. "I'm having more fun than I ever thought I'd have playing cricket. Im just making the most of it and enjoying every second." Watson, 27, was called into the touring squad last month after Andrew Symonds was stood down for disciplinary reasons. It was the end of a long road back from a run of injuries that started when he dislocated a shoulder while fielding in a Test against the West Indies in 2005.

Since then he has had regular problems with a troublesome hamstring but fought his way into the Test team through consistent performances in the Indian Premier League and the one-day international side.

Watson also chipped in with three wickets as Australia dismissed India for 360 and gained a 70-run first innings lead.

He removed Rahul Dravid and Harbhajan Saturday before trapping Anil Kumble lbw in the morning session.

"Wickets to me dont matter," he said. "My role is to bowl as tightly as I can and build pressure, to make it extremely hard. I enjoy every wicket I get _ but theyre a massive bonus."

Watson will get more bowling on the final day once Australia decide when to declare its innings and push for victory. Paceman Stuart Clark has a sore elbow that is preventing him from throwing overarm but he is expected to bowl on Monday.

Watson said he had not talked to Ricky Ponting about his plans for the final day, but had faith in Australias bowlers to seal a 1-0 advantage in the first of four Tests. "The ball is going to reverse swing fairly quickly, which is very handy for our quicks," Watson said. "The wicket is deteriorating a little, but definitely not as much as I thought it would. We are going to have to bowl extremely well to bowl the Indians out."

For the latest Cricket news , Score, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and get the NDTV Cricket app for Android or iOS

Leave a comment