Khawaja shows glimpse of future
Usman Khawaja showed in his poised Test initiation against England on
Monday that he could play a leading role in the revival of Australia’s
cricket fortunes. Pakistan-born Khawaja, the first Muslim to play for
his adopted country, captivated a nation downcast by its national team’s
Ashes downfall with his accomplished knock of 37 in the final Test at
the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Far from being intimidated by the occasion, Khawaja, 24, whipped six
runs off his first two deliveries and defied the English attack for two
hours and 95 balls to star for the transitional Australian team.
One of two debutants, Khawaja, who came to Australia when he was
three, displayed his technique and confidence to make a sound impression
as injured Ricky Ponting’s replacement in the demanding number three
He savoured his time in the spotlight to help Australia reach 134 for
four at the close of a rain-interrupted opening day.
“I had a ball out there. I just wanted to stay out there as long as I
could,” Khawaja said.
“It was a good start. I got all the anxiousness out of my system. I
was just loving being out there in the middle.
“You never want to get out, especially the last ball of the day as it
turned out to be. I’d like to be 37 not out overnight, but that’s
cricket. All you can do is learn from it.”
Khawaja’s mature knock ended when he top-edged a sweep off spinner
Graeme Swann to Jonathan Trott at backward square leg. It was to be the
last ball of the day before the rain swept in.
Asked about how he envisaged his playing future, Khawaja said:
“Obviously, I’d love to have a long Test career.
“I’d like to play cricket, especially for Australia, as long as
possible but I’m taking Ricky Ponting’s spot, who is probably the
greatest Australian batsman bar Don Bradman, so I’m just enjoying this
Test match rignt now and trying to savour everything I can.”
Khawaja said he was an emotional mess when he was presented with his
baggy green cap by former Test captain Mark Taylor before the start of
“I was probably most emotional when I got my baggy green in the
morning,” he admitted.
“I was just ecstatic at that point. When I shook his (Taylor’s) hand
and got the baggy green, that’s probably the most I can remember at the
“After I got that, I sort of calmed down a little. Unfortunately
(Phillip) Hughes got out just before lunch.
“I literally barely thought about batting for the first 20 minutes of
lunch. Tried to sleep. Just lying down in the change room.
“I got up, 10 minutes before we went out there, got myself ready
AUSTRALIA 1st innings:
S. Watson c Strauss b Bresnan 45
P. Hughes c Collingwood b Tremlett 31
U. Khawaja c Trott b Swann 37
M. Clarke c Anderson b Bresnan 4
M. Hussey not out 12
B. Haddin not out 0
Extras (lb4, nb1) 5
TOTAL (4 wkts, 59 overs) 134
Fall of wickets: 1-55 (Hughes), 2-105 (Watson), 3-113 (Clarke), 4-134 (Khawaja).
Bowling: Anderson 20-5-34-0, Tremlett 16-6-40-1 (1nb), Bresnan 16-4-47-2,
Swann 5-3-6-1, Collingwood 2-1-3-0.
To bat: S. Smith, M. Johnson, P. Siddle, M. Beer, B. Hilfenhaus.