Watson hails game-changer Xavier Doherty


Australia skipper Shane Watson saluted left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty as a game-changing slow bowler after the tourists’ 64-run win over the West Indies in their opening one-day international. Doherty took four for 49 despite being clobbered for three sixes by Marlon Samuels in his first over at Arnos Vale on Friday.
“In the end Xavier Doherty got the best of that middle order which was a brilliant comeback after Marlon Samuels took him down the first over,” said Watson.
“There’s no doubt Xavier’s improved, he’s just developed his cricket over the last five or six years and now he’s got a number of different gameplans that he can go to depending on the situation of the game.
“As a captain he really is a pleasure to captain because he really knows exactly what he’s trying to do. If things don’t go exactly right he’s always got another way to try and find a way to be successful like he did today.”
Australia maintained their six-year unbeaten run against the West Indies when they cantered to victory after the home side suffered an embarrassing batting collapse. Chasing a modest 205 target, West Indies, who had lost 14 of their last 15 one-dayers against the Australians coming into the match, were well set at 97 for three in the 24th over.
But they then lost their next six wickets for a paltry seven runs and despite a final-wicket flourish from skipper Darren Sammy hitting 35, with five fours and three sixes, the Windies were still left looking for a first win over Australia since 2006. “It’s a great way to be able to start the tour and show the guys who haven’t played much against the West Indies that if you’re able to sustain a bit of pressure for a period of time, we know we can get the results we want,” added Watson.
“The average score here was just over 200 so we knew we had a decent enough score if we were able to bowl well. “We knew if we were able to sustain a little bit of pressure for a time they always had the potential to self-destruct a bit and they did that.” The second match in the five-game series takes place here on Sunday.