Shane Watson [ Images ] again showed why he is Australia's [ Images ] man for all occasions when he ground his way to a vital half-century on the first day of the second Test against West Indies [ Images ] on Sunday.
The all-rounder, now padding up at three after stints at six and opener, batted for almost two and a half hours for just 56 runs at Queen's Park Road in Trinidad.
On a pitch that played slow and turned from the outset, runs were hard to come by. The Australians, who normally rattle along at a much faster tempo, could only manage 208-5 for the day and Watson was the only batsmen to reach 50.
"It was hard to get the pace of the ball because it was very slow," he told reporters.
"The ball was very soft from the time I came and in was only getting softer through the innings. It made it very hard to score and rotate through the strike with the fields that they set."
Watson has often been criticised for doing the hard work but failing to go on and make bigger scores but this was not one of those times.
He has reached 50 in Tests on 20 occasions for Australia but only made two hundreds. The 30-year-old said under the circumstances, he was not disappointed by his laTest effort, because all the Australians had no choice other than to bat cautiously.
"It's not like we were on the defensive and defend everything," he said.
"We were looking to score but the way the wicket was and with the way the ball was it was hard to pierce the field. So it made it quite difficult at times to score."
Despite Australia's relative low return from the opening day, Watson was confident the tourists were still in a strong position after winning the toss.
"(The pitch) is only going to get worse so it was a pretty important toss to win. That meant we weren't going to be batting on it last," he said.
"With our two spinners as well, it meant we've got the balance right the way the coin fell. If we're able to get around 300 it's going to put us in a pretty good position to make the most of the conditions."
Australia 1st innings
D Warner c Sammy b Shillingford 29
E Cowan lbw b Roach 28
S Watson c Barath b Shillingford 56
R Ponting c Sammy b Roach 7
M Clarke c Shillingford b Deonarine 45
M Hussey not out 26
M Wade not out 11
Extras: (lb3, nb3) 6
Total: (90 overs) 208 for 5
Fall of wickets: 1-53, 2-65, 3-83, 4-167, 5-178
Bowling: Edwards 13-7-28-0 (1nb), Roach 18-4-77-2 (1nb), Sammy 12-4-16-0, Shillingford 32-11-56-2 (1nb), Deonarine 15-3-28-1.
Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / Reuters