SUMMARY: Ricky Ponting hailed Usman Khawaja for his maiden century in England, calling it “one of his best”. Khawaja is in a red-hot form this year, scoring 682 runs at an average of 68.20. Joe Root returned to the Test side in 2022, scoring 1,080 runs at an average of 67.50. England have a lead over Australia in the test, with Joe Root and Ollie Pope at the crease.
Birmingham [UK], June 19 (ANI): Former Australian skipper and batting great Ricky Ponting hailed in-form opener Usman Khawaja for his maiden century in England, calling it “one of his best” knocks.
A century from Usman Khawaja (141) helped Australia to 386 in reply to England’s first-innings score of 393/8 declared. In the second innings, England stood at 28/2 at the end of rain-affected day three with a 35-run lead over the visitors. “I think this is one of his best, to be honest,” Ponting said of Khawaja’s century as quoted by ICC.
“From the media’s point of view, there were a few question marks over Usman coming to England. His record in England was not where he wanted it to be and certainly not as good as it is in other parts of the world.”
“I think you could tell by his celebration just how much it meant to him. I am not sure I have seen a batsman throw their bat up in the air actually when they have made a Test match hundred.”
Ponting said that though Khawaja seems like a “laconic laid-back sort of character” from the outside, he is constantly thinking about his game and how he needs to play, what he needs to do to give himself the best chances to score.
“And his innings was outstanding. It is a bit of a monkey off the back I think and a real standout moment in his career,” concluded Ponting.
Khawaja is in a red-hot form this year. In seven Tests, he has scored 682 runs at an average of 68.20. He has scored three centuries and two fifties this year in 11 innings, with the best score of 195*.
After being out of the Test side for over two years, the veteran opener earned his comeback in 2022. That year, he played 11 Tests and scored 1,080 runs at an average of 67.50. He scored four centuries and five fifties in 20 innings, with the best score of 160.
He ended as the second-highest scorer in ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 cycle, despite missing the whole of 2021. In 17 matches, he scored 1,621 runs at an average of 64.84. He has six centuries and seven fifties in 30 innings, with the best score of 195*.
In eight Tests in England, he has scored 390 runs at an average of 26.00, with a century and fifty in 15 innings.
Coming to the match, England currently has a lead over Australia in the test. Their second innings is in progress. At the end of rain-affected day three, they were at 28/2, with Joe Root and Ollie Pope at the crease.
In the first innings, Australia was bundled out for 386 and they trailed England by seven runs, who had scored 393 in their first innings after electing to bat.
Australia was once at 67/3 after David Warner (9), Marnus Labuschagne (0) and Steve Smith (16) were dismissed quickly. Then knocks from Khawaja (141), Alex Carey (66), Travis Head (50) and skipper Pat Cummins (38) carried the Aussies to a big score, though not big enough to secure a lead.
Ollie Robinson (3/55) and Stuart Broad (3/68) were the pick of the bowlers for England. Moeen Ali picked two scalps while skipper Ben Stokes and James Anderson got one each.
England declared their first innings at 393/8 after electing to bat first. A century from Root (118* in 152 balls, with seven fours and four sixes), fifties from Jonny Bairstow (78 in 78 balls, with 12 fours) and Zak Crawley (61 in 73 balls, with seven fours) powered England to a huge score.
Nathan Lyon (4/149) was the pick of the bowlers for the Aussies. Josh Hazlewood picked up two wickets while Scott Boland and Cameron Green got a wicket each. (ANI)