MELBOURNE (Agencies) - A superb solo effort by Shane Watson with the bat enabled Australia to overcome a sloppy fielding effort and beat England in the opening one-day international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. One of the few Australians to emerge with his reputation intact after the Ashes disaster, Watson's brilliant unbeaten 161 enabled the home side to chase down England's imposing total of 294 from 49.4 overs with five balls to spare. Fittingly, the right-hander hit the winning runs from the first ball of the last over, lofting Ajmal Shahzad over long-on for six to take Australia to 297/4. He and Brad Haddin laid the foundation for the win with a 110-run partnership, although another scratchy innings by captain Michael Clarke threatened to derail the chase. Clarke put on 103 with Watson for the second wicket, but again looked sadly out of form and often earned ironic cheers from the crowd when he managed to score as he eked out 36 from 57 balls. His only four came when he miscued for a single, and two fielding errors led to three overthrows. However, Watson was not going to let his good work go unrewarded again and held the innings together in the latter overs as the tension rose. He reached his fifth one-day century from 110 balls and went on to post a career-best innings, facing 150 deliveries in total and hitting 12 fours and four sixes. The solo effort of Watson, dropped on 44 by Jonathan Trott from the bowling of Chris Tremlett at mid-on, spared Australian blushes after a hapless performance in the field. Kevin Pietersen led the way for England, who won the toss and elected to bat, with 78 from 75 balls including three sixes. It was England's highest total in a one-day international against Australia in Australia, and also their highest at the MCG. Just over a month out from their World Cup defence, the Australians offered up dropped catches, missed stumpings. Scorecard England innings A. Strauss c Clarke b Lee 63 S. Davies b D. Hussey 42 J. Trott c Haddin b D. Hussey 6 K. Pietersen run out 78 I. Bell c Clarke b Smith 23 E. Morgan c White b Smith 8 Yardy c M. Hussey b Bollinger 9 Bresnan c Doherty b Lee 28 G. Swann c Doherty b Johnson 4 A. Shahzad not out 8 C. Tremlett c Haddin b Johnson 7 Extras: (w-14, nb-1, b-2, lb-1) 18 Total (all out, 49.4 overs) 294 FOW: 1-90, 2-100, 3-131, 4-174, 5-186, 6-236, 7-257, 8-271, 9-278, 10-294 Bowling: Lee 9-0-43-2, Bollinger 9-0-57, Hussey 6-0-42-2, Johnson 7.4-0-53-2, Watson 8-0-44-0, Doherty 7-0-40-0, Smith 3-0-12-2 Australia innings S. Watson not out 161 Haddin c Shahzad b Swann 39 M. Clarke c Shahzad b Bresnan 36 S. Smith c Yardy b Shahzad 5 M. Hussey c Tremlett b Bresnan 21 C. White not out 25 Extras: (lb-6, w-3, 1-nb) 10 Total: (for four wkts, 49.1 overs) 297 FOW: 1-110, 2-213, 3-220, 4-244 Bowling: Bresnan 10-0-71-2, Tremlett 10-0-67-0, Shahzad 9.1-0-51-1, Yardy 9-0-53-0, Swann 10-0-42-1, Trott 1-0-7-0