England ready for Khawaja debut
Strike bowler James Anderson insisted Friday that England could
nullify the threat of Australian Test debutant Usman Khawaja as they
seek to wrap up a series win in Sydney.
Pakistan-born Khawaja, 24, is set to make his Test bow for his
adopted country as injured skipper Ricky Ponting's replacement in the
Sydney Test, starting on Monday.
Anderson, England's leading wicket-taker with 17 scalps, believes
that with a little extra information, the tourists' attack will be able
to snuff out the threat from the technically gifted Khawaja.
"It will be slightly new. We've played against him and had a bit of
experience against him," Anderson told reporters.
"The guys have had a bit of a taste of what he's about, what his
Khawaja, top-scorer in this season's domestic Sheffield Shield
competition, went cheaply for 13 and a duck playing for Australia A
against the tourists in Hobart.
"Hopefully, with a bit more background knowledge from a couple of the
local guys like (England's Australian bowling coach) David Saker, that
might help us even more," Anderson said.
Anderson said despite criticism of Ponting's leadership and poor
batting form, the skipper's absence would be a "huge loss" for Australia
in the Sydney Test.
He said that while Ponting was in a slump, he remained an integral
part of the Australian side.
"He has been out of form but he's a fine player and a real wicket
that we cherish and we really want to get so I think he'll be a big loss
for them," Anderson said.
Anderson said that England were focused on ending their 24-year
series drought in Australia rather than just retaining the Ashes.
"When I was growing up as a kid watching us come over here and
struggle, then being involved in 2006-7, that was really tough," he
"So all of us want to go home with a winning series, not just
retaining the Ashes. We're not going to settle for that now.
"We've still got a 24-year record that we want to put to bed and
we're not going to settle for a 2-2 series," he said.
Anderson said he remained fresh despite a heavy workload during the
"I'm feeling pretty good," Anderson said.
"I love the responsibility that I've got, opening the bowling and
leading the attack," he added. SYDNEY, AFP