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MCG mastery makes Watson fourth Ashes Test top runscorer material

| 19.12.2013

Shane Watson boasts the third-highest average of any Australian batsmen to play more than four Test innings at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and he looks a tasty 5/1 punt to be his nation’s highest run scorer in the fourth Ashes match of the series.

In the summer on the other side of the world Watson flickered and frustrated through four matches before finally cutting loose with a big 170 with game long since up.

Back on home turf he has again been slow to contribute, but arrived at the party in time to post a series-sealing second-innings century at the WACA.

Genuinely hailed by his long-term sparring partner and captain Michael Clarke for his role in regaining the urn, Watson should be buzzing like a fridge full of frosty Fosters ahead of the fourth test.

His average of 88.75 from five innings at the MCG is bettered only by Donald Bradman and Bob Cowper among the baggy green-wearers of cricketing history.

While only one of those scores crossed the feted three-digit barrier, four of them enabled him to acknowledge the ground’s four corners with bat aloft.

One of those fifty-plus turns came against England on the tourists’ victorious Ashes spin of 2010/11.

However, having also been sent back to the pavilion with a first-innings five in that encounter, he’ll have plenty of motivation to twist the blade now his side have regained the ascendancy.

Of his most likely run-gathering rivals, it’s perhaps noteworthy that Mitchell Johnson (44.5) and Michael Clarke (42.81) boast the next-best MCG averages of any current Aussie batsman.

Meanwhile David Warner and Brad Haddin, first and third in the list of England damage-doers with the wand this series, are some way down the averages still.

Warner has broken 40 runs just once in three Test innings in Melbourne, both of which were in Boxing Day contests, while Haddin has gone beyond the 27 mark in only two of his eight attempts.