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Page last updated at 12:16 GMT, Friday, 1 October 2010 13:16 UK

Australia opener Shane Watson scores ton against India

First Test, Mohali (day one, close)
India v Australia 224-5
Match scorecard

Shane Watson
Shane Watson made the most of two dropped catches to score a battling century

Opener Shane Watson made India pay for fielding lapses with an unbeaten 101 as Australia reached 224-5 on day one of the first Test at Mohali.

Watson was dropped twice, once in the opening over by Virender Sehwag and once by wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni, who also put down Tim Paine.

The tourists were 154-1 at one stage as Watson put on 141 with Ricky Ponting.

But skipper Ponting was run out for 71 and pacemen Zaheer Khan took 3-45 to leave the match evenly balanced.

India must have been happy after fighting back so strongly. However, with Watson and Paine still at the crease, and the likes of Nathan Hauritz and Mitchell Johnson still to come, Australia will not have given up hope of a score in excess of 350.

Presented with a pitch lacking pace and bounce, Australia skipper Ponting elected to bat first with India fielding two frontline spinners alongside seamers Zaheer and Ishant Sharma.

The day began well enough for the tourists as they piled up 101 runs in the morning session for the loss of Simon Katich, with Watson benefitting from Sehwag's lapse at gully from only the second delivery from Zaheer.

It was easier to score off the new ball than the reverse-swinging or the turning one

Australia opener Shane Watson

India spurned a second opportunity to dismiss the Queenslander on 37 saw when captain Dhoni dropped a thin outside edge off left-arm spinner Ojha.

India's attack was weakened when seam bowler Sharma was forced off the field with a leg injury midway through his eighth over, but they were given a boost when Ponting was beaten by Suresh Raina's direct hit from mid-wicket.

It was the 14th time the 35-year-old has been run out in Test matches - more than any player in history.

Words were exchanged between Zaheer and Ponting, averaging just 20.85 in 12 Tests in India before this match, as the Australian captain left the field, pointing his bat in the direction of the assembled Indian fielders.

And Watson said Ponting should be absolved of any blame for his reaction.

"I know what the footage shows, and that's exactly what happened," said Watson.

"Ricky is not someone who will go out there to pick up a fight. He reacted only after something was said."


It precipitated a mini-collapse by Australia, with vice-captain Michael Clarke clipping Harbhajan Singh to Rahul Dravid for 14, Mike Hussey trapped in front and Marcus North bowled after leaving a swinging delivery from the impressive Zaheer.

Ojha and spin partner Harbhajan carried a heavier than expected workload in Sharma's absence, but the scoring rate was held in check to such an extent that only 45 runs came in the final session.

They could not dislodge Watson, however, and he followed his two centuries in Australia's warm-up match against an Indian Board President's XI with another as he and Paine saw their innings through to the close.

The century was Watson's second of his Test career as he continues to impress opening the innings.

The all-rounder was handed the role during the third Ashes Test against England last year and averages over 47 at the top of the order.

"I knew the first few hours would be crucial," added Watson.

"For me, it was easier to score off the new ball than the reverse-swinging or the turning one. Hopefully I can continue."

"The Indian bowlers bowled beautifully with the softer ball and the spinners did not give much to hit."

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see also
Watson hits two centuries in draw
27 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Yuvraj dropped from India squad
20 Sep 10 |  India
Australia call for teen Hazlewood
02 Sep 10 |  Australia
Australia in India 2010
24 Oct 10 |  Cricket

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