Australia made 298 runs from 49.1 overs after captain Michael Clarke, who added 75, won the toss at the Rose Bowl in Southampton yesterday. England was bowled out for 249 with two of its 50 overs left chasing 299 for the victory.
The Australians, who arrived in the U.K. on May 27 and have had three Prime Ministers during their tour, clinched the best-of-five one-day contest 2-1 after rain washed out two matches.
“I knew how important it was for us to win and come away with a series win,” Watson said in a televised interview. “We haven’t had much success on the tour so far so it was nice to finish off the way we did.”
Australia failed to win a match in the defense of its Champions Trophy one-day title in June and changed its coach before being beaten 3-0 by England in the five-match Ashes Test series. The teams split their two Twenty20 internationals.
The sport’s oldest rivals will meet for another best-of-five Ashes series starting Nov. 21 in Brisbane. England, which also beat New Zealand in a Test series during its home summer, is scheduled to arrive for its tour of Australia on Oct. 25.
Watson, who struck 12 fours and six sixes in his innings, combined for a 163-run fourth-wicket partnership with Clarke to help lift Australia’s total near 300. England paceman Ben Stokes took five wickets for 61 runs, his best figures in a one-day international, while Chris Jordan claimed 3-51 in his debut.
England’s pursuit of the target was undermined by two run-outs, including Kevin Pietersen without scoring, as it slipped to 68-4. Ravi Bopara top scored for the home team with 62, while seamer James Faulkner led Australia’s bowlers with 3-38 and Mitchell Johnson took 2-21.
Before hosting England, Australia visits India next month for a Twenty20 match and best-of-seven one-day series.
“It’s been an amazing tour and even though we haven’t had the results we wanted, things have changed for the better in a big way,” Watson added. “We’re playing the brand of cricket we know is going to give us success. We just need to be more consistent with it. Everybody’s really excited about what lies ahead.”
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