Elementary for Watson as England toil

ALL-ROUNDER Shane Watson ensured the Australian gamble paid off with a gallant half-century as the tourists made up for lost time at a rain-sodden Edgbaston.<br /><br />Persistent rain and a wet outfield meant only 30 overs were available later in the day, but Watson, a surprise replacement for axed opener Phillip Hughes, justified his selection with a battling fifty as the Aussies put the England bowlers to the sword.<br /><br />Making his Ashes debut and opening in a Test for the first time, Watson capitalised on wayward bowling to smash an unbeaten 62 &ndash; his second Test half-century &ndash; and help the tourists rally to 126-1 at the close.<br /><br />Despite the presence of a pumped-up Andrew Flintoff, the Aussies seized control, only to lose Simon Katich to spinner Graeme Swann for a quickfire 46.<br /><br />Australia were forced into a second, unexpected change just minutes before the scheduled start after wicketkeeper Brad Haddin suffered a suspected fractured finger in the warm-up. This subsequently handed a Test debut to Graham Manou at the age of 30. Captain Ricky Ponting would have been cheered, however, by winning the toss and opting to bat on a decent track, which his new opening pair clearly enjoyed.<br /><br />Both attacked a series of loose deliveries to close in on the century stand until Katich was trapped trying to hook Swann in the spinner&rsquo;s very first over. Ponting, himself, steadied the ship to bring up his 20,000 career runs until the umpires signalled the end of an otherwise eventful day.<br /><br />Fortunately the weather is forecasted better for today, but England skipper Andrew Strauss will know his side must bowl an awful lot better if they are to avoid a sizeable run chase.<br /><br /><strong>SCORECARD </strong> AUSTRALIA (1ST INNS)<br />S Watson&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; not out&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 62<br />S Katich&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; lbw&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; b Swann&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;46&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br />R Ponting&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; not out&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; 17<br />Extras&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (1lb)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; 1<br /><strong>TOTAL&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; (1 wkt, 30 overs)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; 126</strong><br />Fall: 85<br />Bowling: Anderson 10-0-45-0, Flintoff<br />9-2-31-0, Onions 3-0-21-0, Broad 6-1-24-0<br />Swann 2-0-4-1&nbsp;