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Centurion Watson's mind on floods rather than cricket

Shane Watson
Watson sealed victory with a six off England seamer Ajmal Shahzad

Shane Watson said his mind has been on the devastating floods in Queensland after his unbeaten 161 in the first one-day international against England.

Watson made the fifth-highest ODI score by an Australian to inspire his side to a six-wicket win in Melbourne.

"It's going to be heart-wrenching to see the devastation," said Watson, who is from the Queensland town of Ipswich.

"My mind and heart have been there, I haven't really been thinking about the cricket too much to be honest."

The tragedy has claimed 18 lives so far and the 29-year-old revealed he would use a gap in the one-day schedule to fly to Ipswich, where his parents and sister still live, for the first time since the floods hit.

"It's going to be nice to get up there and feel like I can actually help out in some way," added Watson, who sealed victory with a six off Ajmal Shahzad.

"It's been all about what has been going on back home and also trying to organise things I can do after this game to help out in any way I can.

"It's going to be great to get up to Ipswich and do everything I can to help out, whichever way that is.

"No doubt my mind has been there and I suppose that does free your mind when you are thinking about other things and does put a game of cricket into perspective.

"It's nice to be able to put on a performance like this. Hopefully there are a few people watching it who will get some encouragement."


Watson will remain in Ipswich for two days before rejoining the Australia team before Friday's second match in Hobart.

England captain Andrew Strauss called Watson's knock, which saw the hosts pass a testing target of 295 with five balls to spare, "one of the great one-day innings".

"If we had taken early wickets we would have been right ahead of the game," said Strauss. "They needed someone to anchor it and Shane Watson did that brilliantly."

With a number of players on both sides looking rusty in terms of adapting to the skills required for 50-over cricket, Watson got Australia on the front foot in the seven-match ODI series after the disappointment of losing a first Ashes campaign at home since 1986-87.

Often criticised for failing to convert half-centuries into hundreds, he for once went on to make a big score, though was left to ponder his failure to do so during the Ashes.

Watson said: "It would have been nice to go on and get a bigger score in the Ashes, that would have been what I was looking for. But this is a little bit of consolation.

"It was a nice night tonight, no doubt about that. It's nice when things fall your way and to get the team home. We felt we restricted England a little bit, we thought they would get well over 300.

"I was struggling for a while there and I started to cramp up a bit, I was in strife after a couple of slogs that I played.

"It is good to start 1-0 up but we have to play good cricket throughout the rest of this series, so hopefully there is more to come."

Strauss bemoaned the loss of "soft" wickets in the middle order as the tourists failed to capitalise on an impressive 78 from Kevin Pietersen, his first ODI half-century in over two years.

He said: "We had a platform to get 310, 320 maybe and KP getting out in the first over of the powerplay didn't help us. We lost too many wickets too softly and that is something you've got to look at.

"Kevin has struggled a little bit in one-day cricket but hopefully there is more to come from him in this tournament and in the World Cup.

"The defeat is hard to swallow, but we'll come back stronger in Hobart."

The second match of the series is at Bellerive on Friday, by which time both teams will have finalised their 15-man squads for the World Cup.

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