An Australian number 3 did not score a century since Shaun Marsh in September 2011. Wednesday's Ashes contest however wiped out this dismal stat with Shane Watson firing on all cylinders. The No. 3 batsman dominated the first day of the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval with a 114-ball century. (Live Blog, 5th Test Day 1)
Coming in after the early demise of David Warner, Watson played in typical attacking fashion to notch up his third Test ton. His blistering century had as many as 16 boundaries and a six. He was particularly harsh on England's newbies - seamer Chris Woakes and left-arm orthodox Simon Kerrigan. Their first seven overs - combined - cost a whopping 58.
He found runs tougher to come by in the second session and, on 91, was struck a painful blow on the side of his head unprotected by his helmet, after he took his eye off a Stuart Broad bouncer while trying to sway out of the way.
But a 41-minute spell in the 90s spanning 20 balls ended when he drove James Anderson for three through the offside to complete a near three-hour hundred in 114 balls.
Watson had to endure a long wait for this milestone - 47 innings and 24 Test matches. His last hundred (126) came against India in October, 2010 at Mohali. Although Watson has managed 11 half-centuries since then, the hundred remained elusive.
The 32-year-old Watson has often been criticised for a poor conversion rate given he has 23 times got to fifty in Test cricket but only twice before gone on to make a hundred.
This series saw Watson start as an opener and then move to number six before, with Australia having lost the Ashes at 3-0 down, he was switched to number three at The Oval after Usman Khawaja was dropped.
In another staggering fact, statistics show that in the last 10 years, Ricky Ponting with 22 hundreds is the leader for Australia at No.3. Adam Gilchrist, Jason Gillespie, Shaun Marsh and Watson with one each are the other ton-getters at the spot.
The 32-year-old burly Australian all-rounder might have come to the fore a bit too late in the current series - with the visitors down 0-3. With the return Ashes in mind however, Watson's century may speak volumes about the cricket that is still left in him.
(With AFP inputs)