Never in my 30 odd years of watching test cricket have I seen someone make such a shambles of getting accross the finishing line to his maiden test century.
That is exactly what happened to the stop gap opener, that is Shane Watson at the MCG on day 4 of the 1st test against Pakistan.
He spent a massive 64 minutes in the 90’s, either side of the lunch break as he spent that long messing around in the morning session, all this just increasing the pressure on himself.
He was starting to run singles that were not there, only to turn back. He chased wide balls with reckless shots and bad shot selections. Struggled to get the spinner away, getting stuck on the crease with the occasional inside edge as well.
When he did manage to cream one out of the middle he only managed to pick out a fielder, it was comedy all the way.
Pakistan played their part in the ‘Benny Hill Show’ as well, with some comical fielding and a succession of dropped catches. For some bizarre reason though, they kept fielding well, when Watson couldn’t pierce the infield for the boundary to bring up his maiden test century.
That was until Abdur Rauf appeared on the scene in the gully position. Mohammad Aamer was bowling wide to an 8-1 field, trying to temp Watson to chase wide ones, which Watson kindly obliged to do, and on many occasions he chased and missed.
Then on 99, he finally middled a wide one and hit it straight to Abdur Rauf at gully, it was written in the stars that he would only bring up his century with a dropped catch, and that is exactly what happened as Rauf spilt the catch, allowing Watson to run the single to bring up his hundred.
It wasn’t the easiest of catches, but a top class fielder would have snapped it up. Why they had that cart horse fielding in the gully, who knows. Then from what I’ve seen of this test, Pakistan have a lot of cart horse fielders, so maybe Rauf is one of the better ones.
If Pakistan could field, Watson would still be looking for his first test hundred, and no doubt be kicking anything in his path out of frustration today.
All in all, the whole thing was a shambles.