Sunday 29 June 2008 

Watson Century Seals Series For Australia In Grenada

A 190-run partnership between maiden centurion Shane Watson and Ricky Ponting enabled Australia to cruise to a seven-wicket win over the West Indies in the third Digicel One Day International against Australia in St George's, Grenada.

The result means that Australia have sealed the five-match series by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Watson hit 126 and Ponting 69 as Australia reached 225 for three in the 41st over after bowling the West Indies out for 223, Nathan Bracken taking three for 26.

The West Indies wasted a good start afforded them by openers Chris Gayle (53) and Xavier Marshall (35), with Shivnarine Chanderpaul's dismissal for 32 by Andrew Symonds in the 33rd over the catalyst for the collapse, which also saw Brett Lee pick up his 300th ODI wicket when he had Darren Sammy caught and bowled for three.

Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan added 61 for the third wicket after Gayle and Marshall scored 86 together but once Symonds had Chanderpaul caught behind by wicket-keeper Luke Ronchi, the wheels fell off for West Indies.

Sarwan hit 31 on his return and Denesh Ramdin 21 but no other batsmen could pass 12 against the varied and incisive Australian attack. Seven bowlers were used in all, but not one completing ten overs, underlining the options at captain Ricky Ponting's disposal.

Bracken removed Andre Fletcher (12), Ramdin and Sulieman Benn (one) while Ronchi had another impressive day behind the stumps, taking two catches and stumping Fletcher standing up to left-arm seamer Bracken.

Shaun Marsh was bowled by Fidel Edwards, failing to score from five deliveries, but opening partner Watson and captain Ponting, despite struggling with an arm injury, cashed in on a good pitch for batting.

The 50 partnership came in 56 balls, the century stand in 98 deliveries and 150 was raised from 150 with Watson motoring to his fifty from 48 deliveries.

Ponting was not far behind, reaching the milestone from 57 balls and soon Watson was past his previous best score of 79 and in the 32nd over, the same stage at which the West Indian innings was beginning to fall apart, he pulled Chris Gayle for four to register a century in One Day Internationals for the first time.

Their stand came to an end when Ponting was caught by Marshall off of Gayle at long on while Watson's stunning innings, which contained 15 fours and two sixes, including complete dominance of West Indies' premier spinner Sulieman Benn, ended when he was caught by Sarwan off of Sammy.

It was left to Michael Clarke, unbeaten on 11 and Symonds, back in the side after injury in place of Cameron White, on eight, to ease Australia home with 56 balls to spare. The match ended when part-time off-spinner Marshall conceded five wides, which summed up proceedings for a side which bowled without much conviction, and fielded poorly.

The West Indies welcomed back Sarwan with Keiron Pollard the man to miss out while Jerome Taylor was replaced by Edwards and Ramdin came in for Patrick Browne.

© Cricket World 2008

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