As a silver coin spun in the early September London air, Tim Paine correctly guessed the side on which it would land.
Shane Watson has copped a lot of crap from the media and fans over the past six months or so.
Firstly, the Indian homework scandal. Then the reported problems with the captain and team culture, the LBWs, the DRSs, the WTF’s and continued low scores.
A lot of people had completely written him off as a Test player.
Watto had a reason to stay grumpy. The trademark furled brow held all of the frustration and disappointment in like a badge.
He’s always had that look about him. It’s not the nervous look that poor old Steve Smith has written on his face all the time, it’s a scowl that makes you feel like he is pissed off that things never go right for him.
Watto started solid. Then he mercilessly took the attack apart, smashing debutants Woakes and Kerrigan all over the park.
A 50 came up in no time followed by a very humble raising of the bat.
The furled brow stayed down. Into the 60s and 70s he plugged away and continued to look the goods until the devils number 87 arrived.
A superstitiously unlucky number in Australian cricketing folk-law and 13 from a century, was all that stood in the way of Watto’s redemption.
Bang! Stuart ‘Draco Malfoy’ Broad sent down a rising cobra that hit him under the helmet near his left ear.
You could hear the deadening whack through the stump mic of the ball hitting into the side of his head.
He whipped his helmet off and dropped to his knees on the ground, crouching and still. The devil got him, Watto’s voodoo had struck again. Surely he’d have to retire hurt. He was so close…
But no. After some attention from the physio, Watson began to rise.
A drink of water brought a timid round of applause from the stunned crowd. He would continue.
Watto’s brow soon lifted as he reached his maiden Ashes century.
A long satisfying breath out as he lifted his helmet and raised his arms.
A nod to the wife in the crowd, a glance at the dressing room, a wave of relief washing over, knowing a Test career has been saved.
But no smile. Not yet for Watto. Just a sense that after everything, it’s time to move forward and put it all behind.