Shane Watson plundered a monstrous century to carry Australia to a nine-wicket win and series triumph over Bangladesh in Dhaka on Monday.
The 29-year-old, recently elevated to the Australian vice-captaincy, showed absolutely no mercy in his approach and ultimate wrapped up the result with all of 24 overs to spare. He finished with a career-best 185 from 96 balls and smashed 15 sixes and 15 fours.
Chasing what was initially thought to be a testing 230-run target across a sluggish Shere Bangla National Stadium pitch, the writing was on the wall very quickly as Watson shrugged off his penchant for unconverted starts by reaching three figures off just 69 balls.
The powerful right-hander was brutal to say the least, and typically found a particular liking for the midwicket and long-on fences. Spinner Suhrawadi Shuvo had a day to forget, copping 27 runs off one over, including four sixes on the trot from the centurion.
Dropped in the deep by Raqibul Hasan off the bowling of Abdur Razzaq on 114, the brutish Queenslander cashed in by cranking his way to 150. Such was the velocity of his knock, his third 50 arrived off a mere 14 deliveries and had the home bowlers cowering to all corners.
With records dropping like ninepins, he then tucked into slow bowlers Mohammad Mahmudullah and Razzaq to land sixes 12, 13, 14 and 15, thus pipping West Indian Xavier Marshall’s 12-six feat against Canada in 2008.
All the while Ricky Ponting was along for the ride and pitched in with a sidekick 37 not out in his 170-run stand at 9.71 to the over with Man of the Match Watson. With Brad Haddin’s single-figure failure resigned to history by his opening partner and former captain’s massive stand, Ponting duly paddled a four through square-leg to seal the deal.
Earlier Mushfiqur Rahim took Brett Lee to the cleaners across the batting Powerplay to rocket Bangladesh to a formidable 229 for seven at the turn of the 50th over.
Stepping to the crease with the score on a shaky 65 for four inside the first 21 overs, the diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman hauled out all the shots during a solid 79-run stand alongside Mahmudullah and later ruined pace ace Lee’s otherwise telling figures.
Lee earlier laid the groundwork for fellow fast bowler Mitchell Johnson (three for 54) to cash in on with a string of economical overs, only to have Rahim cart him for two dozen runs in his last two overs.
Rahim’s whirlwind 81 not out, with Shahriar Nafees’ 56 and Mahmudullah’s 38 in tow, resurrected an innings that seemed dead and buried for the most part of the day.
With middle-order men Hasan (duck) and Shakib Al Hasan (nine) unable to deliver, the loud and proud Rahim was left to marshal his fellow lower-order performers through a trying patch.
While leg-spinner Steven Smith (two for 34) found turn and bounce at one end of the Shere Bangla National Stadium pitch and Johnson churned out express pace from the other side, Rahim employed due measure before tucking into the five-over batting tactic, which saw 59 runs racked up in a flash.
The Aussies sport an unassailable two-nil lead in the three-match series after Michael Clarke’s century in Saturday’s opening one-dayer secured a 60-run win. The third and final ODI takes place at the same venue on Wednesday. Cricket365