Shane Watson downplayed any notion of home advantage after masterminding Australia’s win over England at the Ageas Bowl last night.
The former Hampshire overseas star blasted an outstanding 143 – while current Royals man, Michael Carberry, was in the England ranks – as the Aussies clinched the one-day series.
Watson, who spent two seasons at the club in 2004 and 2005, admitted the pitch was a very different proposition these days.
He also shared a knowing glance and smiled with Australian skipper Michael Clarke – another ex-Hampshire batsman – in their post-match press conference.
But Watson admitted it was always a pleasure returning to a club where he is still fondly remembered.
He said: ‘I’m not sure it’s an advantage but I certainly love coming here.
‘I’ve always had a great time coming here and I’ve had a fair amount of success in the time I’ve been here as well.
‘I always really love coming back to a place where I really feel comfortable.
‘The wicket is certainly different to the one that was here in 2004 and 2005 and it’s certainly one of the best one-day wickets around now.
‘In the t20 game here, it was one of the best t20 wickets I have ever played on – batting-wise and also bowling.
‘It’s on the way to being a great cricket stadium as well so it’s great to come back and see how it’s evolved.’
Carberry’s evening on home turf failed to spark in the way he would have hoped, while England looked like a side who had come to the end of a long summer.
The Australians certainly appeared to have the edge in terms of motivation.
They simply wanted it that bit more, even though England skipper Eoin Morgan felt his side were in with a shout at the halfway stage.
Morgan said: ‘At one stage it looked as though they’d get 350.
‘So after restricting them to 300, on a very good wicket, it’s disappointing not to have got closer or even over the line.
‘We lost wickets throughout the innings and we didn’t have a substantial innings from anyone.’