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Watson ends long wait for a century
A century from Shane Watson put Australia in a good position during the opening day of the final Ashes Test match at the Kia Oval.
Having come to the crease with the tourists struggling on 11 for one, Watson soon set about taking a stranglehold on proceedings, targeting England's two Test debutants Chris Woakes and Simon Kerrigan in the process.
On a day where Australia seemed to be moving in to a commanding position there was some cheer for England's James Anderson as he snared two wickets to move in to clear second place in England's all-time Test wicket-takers list.
The 32-year-old Watson has a much-publicised poor conversion rate in Test cricket having scored just two centuries in his 45 matches before this impressive knock at the Oval, plundering 17 boundaries on his way to three figures.
He has scored 50 or more on 21 occasions and his inability to add to good starts has been a feature throughout recent series, with his previous Test hundred coming almost three years ago against India in Mohali.
Having already sealed the series heading in to the match, England decided to hand Test bows to Woakes and Kerrigan but neither had memorable starts to their five-day careers as Watson set about spoiling their big days.
Australia won the toss and elected to bat and Watson was forced to lead a recovery following the early loss of David Warner inside the opening five overs.
Anderson removed Warner, who had already played one streaky shot off Broad, as he followed one that went across him and offered a regulation edge to Matt Prior behind the wicket.
That brought Anderson level with Bob Willis on 325 Test wickets and signalled the arrival of Watson at number three - another new position for the nomadic all-rounder.
Anderson almost had him for eight when he played around his front pad but umpire Aleem Dar decided the ball was drifting down leg side and England wisely opted not to review that verdict.
But that proved to be the catalyst for Watson to start scoring at a regular rate, especially when Woakes entered the fray in the 13th over with the former opener already looking to score the bulk of his runs in boundaries.
If Woakes' first five-over spell of 30 runs for no wickets was a less-than perfect start then Kerrigan's Ashes introduction was even worse.
Watson took a single off his first delivery to bring up his 50 from 61 runs, the highlight of which was a six down the ground off Graeme Swann, and then proceeded to knock Kerrigan around the ground.
By the time the Lancashire spinner had finished a two-over spell he had already leaked 28 runs as Watson pushed the score forward, reaching 80 at better than a run a ball before lunch having hit six fours from both debutants.
He continued where he left off after lunch and, in-between receiving a nasty blow to the jaw as a bouncer from Stuart Broad sneaked under his helmet, he brought up his century from 114 balls to leave the tourists on 148 for three.
He was joined at the crease at the time by Steven Smith with opener Chris Rogers out for 23 having edged a Swann delivery to Jonathan Trott not long after lunch.
Captain Michael Clarke was also back in the pavilion having added just seven before Anderson bowled him to move clear of Willis and with just Sir Ian Botham ahead of him in the record books.