Cricket-No century but hard work pays off for Watson

PORT OF SPAIN, April 15 Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:49am IST

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PORT OF SPAIN, April 15 (Reuters) - Shane Watson again showed why he is Australia's man for all occasions when he ground his way to a vital half-century on the first day of the second test against West Indies on Sunday.

The all-rounder, now padding up at three after stints at six and opener, batted for almost two and a half hours for just 56 runs at Queen's Park Road in Trinidad.

On a pitch that played slow and turned from the outset, runs were hard to come by. The Australians, who normally rattle along at a much faster tempo, could only manage 208-5 for the day and Watson was the only batsmen to reach 50.

"It was hard to get the pace of the ball because it was very slow," he told reporters.

"The ball was very soft from the time I came and in was only getting softer through the innings. It made it very hard to score and rotate through the strike with the fields that they set."

Watson has often been criticized for doing the hard work but failing to go on and make bigger scores but this was not one of those times.

He has reached 50 in tests on 20 occasions for Australia but only made two hundreds. The 30-year-old said under the circumstances, he was not disappointed by his latest effort, because all the Australians had no choice other than to bat cautiously.

"It's not like we were on the defensive and defend everything," he said.

"We were looking to score but the way the wicket was and with the way the ball was it was hard to pierce the field. So it made it quite difficult at times to score."

Despite Australia's relative low return from the opening day, Watson was confident the tourists were still in a strong position after winning the toss.

"(The pitch) is only going to get worse so it was a pretty important toss to win. That meant we weren't going to be batting on it last," he said.

"With our two spinners as well, it meant we've got the balance right the way the coin fell. If we're able to get around 300 it's going to put us in a pretty good position to make the most of the conditions."

(Editing by Patrick Johnston)

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