Watson first bowler to earn a place on a new honours board
Shane Watson proved an inspired choice on Wednesday as Australia's fourth bowler with his first five wicket haul in Test cricket leading to a unique spot on the Lord's honours' boards.
Watson's medium pace bowling has been thrust into the shadows with his successful elevation to opening bat in last year's Ashes series.
But with heavy cloud cover over Lord's for the second successive day in the first Test against Pakistan, Australia captain Ricky Ponting judged correctly that Watson could be the man to use the conditions in much the same way as Mohammad Asif had for Pakistan on Tuesday.
Swinging the ball late from a full length, the powerfully built all-rounder responded with five for 40 from 7.5 overs, including 30 in 10 balls to Shahid Afridi during a frenzied assault which included four boundaries and two sixes.
Watson, whose figures had been suddenly transformed from two for nought to two for 30, held his nerve to dismiss the Pakistan captain caught at mid-off for 31 attempting another mighty drive.
He is now the first bowler to earn a place on a new honours board reserved for players who take part in a Test featuring two overseas teams. In the only other such match so far, Charles Kelleway and Warren Bardsley scored centuries for Australia in a 1912 Triangular series Test against South Africa.
Image: Shane Watson
Watson inspired by Miller
Like the majority of Australian Test cricketers, Watson possesses a keen sense of history and he was well aware that the greatest Australian all-rounder of them all, the glamorous Keith Miller, figures on both the batting and bowling boards with 109 in 1953 and five for 72 followed by five for 80 three years later.
"In my first Test here I have been looking up at both boards, the bowling and the batting, but especially the bowling, and seeing Keith Miller and what he was able to do getting 10 wickets in a Test match," Watson said.
"He's someone who really continues to inspire me."
Watson has been an instant success at opener with his power and sound technique, scoring seven half-centuries and a century in his first eight Tests at the top of the order.
He said he worked hard on his bowling, conscious that he could still have a job to do in both disciplines, especially after he made only four in Australia's first innings.
I know that opening the batting, my important role is to score runs," he said. "My bowling has probably been a little bit on the back burner.
"But I've also to make sure I'm contributing to the team as well and in the first innings I didn't contribute at all with the bat so I knew I had to contribute in some way.
"It's nice that today it came together really well. It's something that I will continue to get my head around and try to adapt because my position in the team has changed quite significantly to what it as a couple of years ago.
"I'm still trying to find the perfect balance between my batting and my bowling."
Image: Shane Watson