Usman Khawaja was emotional when he scored his first England goal; experts believe Australia will have happier camps after the second day; watch Tuesday live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Cricket on Sunday (10:15am on air, 11:00am first ball game)
21:11, UK, Saturday, June 17, 2023
Australia’s Usman Khawaja has revealed some ill-timed utterances from the Edgbaston crowd that set him up for an emotional century on day two of the first Ashes Test, marking the moment by throwing a tree his stick in the air.
The tourists struggled after Stuart Broad eliminated David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne with consecutive serves, but Khawaja rebuilt the innings with a superb 126.
The opening game lasted nearly six-and-a-half hours, building an important partnership with Travis Head and Cameron Green, before a belated attack on Alex Carey caused Australia to finish day 82 with a score of 311-5. .
Khawaja marked his century with a passionate celebration that saw him throw his bat high over his head. The 36-year-old is enjoying a renaissance in recent years, attracting hundreds of people in Australia, India and Pakistan along the way.
However, races in England have always eluded him – with a peak Test score of 54 and an average of 19.60 before this century – and the fact that the home fans on the pitch have not lost.
“I don’t really read the media but when I was spit on by the crowd as I walked out there today and when I was about to hit the net people said I couldn’t score at I..I guess it’s just a little more emotional
than usual,” he said.
“I think it [the celebration] was a combination of having three Ashes tours in the UK and being eliminated on two of them. Not that I have a reason to prove it, but it’s great to be out there and score goals for Australia and just to show everyone that the last 10 years have not been a fluke.”
Khawaja, who attended the last press conference of the day with his daughter Aisha, spoke about how realizing this would almost certainly be his last trip to Britain liberated him.
“These kids keep me young and make me realize that life is full of fun, inshallah, after I stop playing cricket,” he said.
“So for me, it’s just about enjoying it. My wife has been amazing to me, she’s been the rock of my career.
“That perspective makes it a lot easier for me to go out there, just play and try to enjoy it as much as I can, whether I get a duck or a hundred.
“Every Test match is a bonus for me because we thought my career was over. In my head, it was the last game. [Ashes] I’ll be on tour, unless I pull Jimmy Anderson and come back when I’m 41.”
A better day for Australia or too close to call?
Although England finished day two with 82 runs against Australia, the general feeling is that the Australian dressing room will be happier as they both head into day three.
Nasser Hussain of Sky Sports Cricket….
“I think a really tough day.
“Day two, Edgbaston, it’s usually a good day to hit the ball. It’s a slow, rough surface that they have to work hard on for everything.
“It started to spin, I thought Moeen Ali was really good at bowling, but then I thought they were a bit sloppy in that last session.
“Missed the tripping situation, failed to catch the ball, failed to catch the ball. A lot of people on this team haven’t played much cricket.
“It’s not just a matter of skill but also a matter of fitness. That was prominent in the previous training session.”
Former England captain Eoin Morgan…
“I think it’s Australia’s day.
“I’d rather sit in the Australian dressing room right now and the difference for me is Carey.
“You always expect an Australian to do some runs on this racquet.
“That momentum at the end of the day and led to momentum when Khawaja got the new ball and Carey played brilliantly.”