Shane Watson described his unusual run-out on the first day of the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan as "just one of those things". The Queenslander fell just short of a maiden Test century for the third match in a row but helped put Australia in a dominant position at 305 for three heading into the second day tomorrow. Following knocks of 96 and 89 against the West Indies, Watson was in the box seat for an elusive ton after smashing the inexperienced Pakistan attack to all parts of the MCG. Unlike in Adelaide, however, when he was bowled by spinner Sulieman Benn after attempting a full-blooded pull shot, or in Perth, where he copped a ripper of a delivery from Kemar Roach, the manner of his dismissal in Melbourne was simply bemusing.
On 93, Watson was involved in a horrible mix-up with fellow opener Simon Katich that saw both batsmen finish up at the same end. The left-hander had set off for a run before turning his back on Watson, who continued through to the striker's end. With both players stranded at the one end, the third umpire was needed to determine who got back to the crease first and, after a minute of deliberation, the decision went against Watson. The pair had put on 182 runs for the first wicket, their third lengthy partnership of the summer. "It's just one of those things, there wasn't too much communication that went on there unfortunately," Watson said of his dismissal.
"I definitely knew it must have been me that was out because we both ended up the same spot and he came from that end. It wasn't destined to be today. It took me a little while to calm down but you see the big picture, I'd definitely take 93 at the start of the day in my first Boxing Day Test." Watson brought up his sixth half-century in 11 innings as an opener since taking over the position from the specialist Phillip Hughes during the Ashes. "I feel very confident now opening the batting for Australia and feel I can set up a good platform for the team. "One day hopefully it (a century) will come. If I keep batting the way that I am I know it's not going to be too far away. So hopefully it comes sooner rather than later." Katich fell shortly after for 98 and captain Ricky Ponting for 57 - taking Australia's total of batsmen who have made half-centuries this summer to 18 without converting any into triple figures.
Watson revealed the team are working on ways to break the run of outs in an attempt to reach the milestone. "It's definitely a mental thing, I've got no doubt about that. It's something we talked about before Perth and sometimes the more you talk about it, the more it comes into your head the closer you get to that milestone," he said. "It's just something that we've got to continue to work through as a group. "In a perfect world, hundreds will be very nice - and I'd be the first one to take one - but it's something we've got to continue to work together so it doesn't come in our mind as much as it probably is at the moment." Meanwhile, Watson has no doubt Ponting will play a significant role in the Test after being passed fit by medical staff. The skipper had been a doubt all week after suffering a blow to the elbow. "I knew he'd be at his best. Obviously he'll be disappointed not to get a hundred here because normally every time he bats here he gets one on a Boxing Day Test," Watson added. * PA Sport Australia v Pakistan, Day Two, 3.30am start, Showsports 2
Australia: S Watson run out (Butt/Farhat) 93 S Katich c Butt b Asif 98 R Ponting c Haq b Asif 57 M Hussey batting 38 N Hauritz batting 5 Extras: (5nb, 8lb, 1b) 14 Total: (90 overs, 3 wickets) 305 Fall of wickets: 1-182 (Watson), 2-233 (Katich), 3-291 (Ponting) Bowling: Mohammad Asif 21-4-69-2 Mohammad Aamer 19-6-52-0 Abdur Rauf 15-2-61-0 Saeed Ajmal 32-3-101-0 Imran Farhat 3-0-13-0