Watson back with crucial ton
Shane Watson returned with a bang, striking a powerful 122 to take Australia to a series-clinching 39-run win over West Indies in the third one-day international at Canberra.
The hosts headed into the encounter on a fantastic surface for batting knowing a win would secure an unassailable lead in the five-match rubber.
Watson, returning from a long absence after suffering a calf injury during the Boxing Day Test, ensured that result became heavy favourite courtesy of a thrilling 111-delivery knock.
Well supported by Phil Hughes’ 86, the opener played to leg with typical brutality and led Australia to a commanding 329 for seven.
It speaks volumes about the pitch that the Windies, shorn of Chris Gayle for much of the reply as he had spent time off the field during the hosts’ innings, harboured realistic hopes of a triumph until the dying embers.
That was thanks in large part to birthday boy Darren Bravo, who - helped by brother Dwayne's 51 - equalled a career-best 86 in ODIs.
His departure in the same James Faulkner over as Gayle’s ultimately derailed the tourists and they were dismissed for 290.
Aaron Finch and Watson looked in fine fettle from the outset, profiting from their similar styles to strike freely all round the wicket in an 89-run opening stand.
Indeed, it came as a surprise when the former departed for a rapid 38, caught behind off a Darren Sammy slower-ball.
That did not derail Watson, who - supported by a noticeably more ungainly Hughes - drove and cut freely through the off side while profiting on anything straight.
Having reached his century, he added a further four to take his overall count to 12 and struck a couple of leg-side sixes for good measure.
After Watson was eventually caught on the boundary at square-leg off Kemar Roach, Hughes and George Bailey, with an impressive cameo of 44, picked up the baton to leave Australia scenting a score around 350.
Thanks to some outstanding Kieron Pollard fielding - he claimed two brilliant catches on the boundary, the first a highlight-reel one-handed grab - the hosts were a little short of that, though their total still represented a sizeable challenge.
That was particularly true without Gayle at the top of the order, which meant Devon Thomas - having injured his thumb behind the stumps - had to battle for 19 prior to Clint McKay snaring the first wicket.
Kieran Powell was more impressive in compiling 47, yet it was a 114-run alliance between the Bravos that left the tourists in good shape for a famous chase.
However, Mitchell Starc bowled Dwayne playing down the wrong line and his sibling emulated Gayle in being castled by Faulkner, who claimed 4-48.
Pollard was then run-out on the back of some lazy running and, despite Andre Russell's cameo of 41, West Indies fell to defeat.
Australia have called up Adam Voges as cover for the fourth ODI after Bailey suffered hamstring tightness today.