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Watson leads the way as Australia prosper

Shane Watson hit a fluent century as Australia's batsmen enjoyed a productive first day in their final Investec Ashes warm-up match against Worcestershire.

New Australia coach Darren Lehmann can take particular satisfaction from Watson's knock of 109 in 111 balls, not to mention Chris Rogers' 75, having confirmed yesterday that the pair would open the batting in the first Test against England.

Watson's last international century came way back in October 2010, while 35-year-old Rogers was making his comeback appearance after five years in exile.

Today was their first time opening together and they put on 170 to set up a total of 340 for four.

Ed Cowan, effectively auditioning for the number three slot, scored 58 and captain Michael Clarke also chipped in with 62, although all those runs must be viewed against the backdrop of a Worcestershire attack operating without leading wicket-taker Alan Richardson.

Watson started as he meant to go on, hitting the first of 14 fours from the opening ball of the day - an inviting loosener from Chris Russell.

The powerful Queenslander found the ropes four more times in quick succession to take the score past 50 inside 12 overs and then struck Gareth Andrew for six.

Nick Compton, making a guest appearance for the hosts to push his own Ashes claims, had half a chance of catching the maximum at deep midwicket but could not make firm contact.

Watson's second six, a mighty straight hit off Jack Shantry, brought up the century stand - of which a becalmed Rogers had contributed just 30.

The left-hander was intent on digging in, though, and gave no clear chances.

Watson raced through the nineties with three fours in five Russell deliveries and passed 100 before the lunch break when turning his 94th ball into the leg side.

At the interval, the stand stood at 150. A pair of boundaries subsequently took Rogers to fifty but Watson's work was done when he slog-swept Moeen Ali to fine-leg.

Rogers and Cowan then added 37 before the former's stay ended tamely with a leading edge off Jack Shantry.

An early six for Cowan had seemed out of character and so it proved as he and Clarke began to be tied down by some tighter bowling.

At one stage the pair played out 38 dot-balls in a row, only for a Clarke edge off Charles Morris to end the sequence.

Clarke ensured the rate picked back up before tea, taken with Australia 248 for two.

The touring captain occasionally flexed the injured back that kept him out of the Champions Trophy, but cashed in on a tiring attack in the evening session to overtake Cowan and bring up his half-century with back-to-back fours off Shantry.

Cowan reached his own fifty from 106 balls, but an attempt at a quick single saw Clarke run out soon after.

Five overs later Cowan went the same way, Alexei Kervezee taking advantage of the batsman's slip to hit the stumps.

Steven Smith and Phil Hughes took over until rain arrived to bring an end to proceedings 9.1 overs early.

Investec Ashes highlights

Watch highlights from every Investec Ashes Test on ecb.co.uk - plus Investec Tests v New Zealand - plus a full highlights archive