Ashes 2021-22: ‘No, Not Really. I Don’t Think it’s Sunk in Yet’-Usman Khawaja
Australia left-handed batter Usman Khawaja said scoring twin hundreds in the fourth Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) hasn’t sunk in yet. In the Test, Khawaja scored 137 in Australia’s first innings and then went on to make an unbeaten 101 in the second innings, marking a stunning return to the international fold after 2.5 years. He also joined former Australian players Doug Walters and Ricky Ponting to be the only players to score centuries in both innings of a Test at the SCG.
“No, not really. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I’ve always wanted to score a century in both innings in first-class cricket and never done it. I wasn’t really sure if I was gonna do it. It didn’t really matter to me, now that I’ve played so long. I’m like it’s not the end of the world. Not a big deal, but it’s just a nice tick-off and has put the team in a situation where hopefully we can try to win. Look, it all worked out pretty well. it doesn’t always happen in life and cricket. It’s special,” said Khawaja in the post-day press conference.
Khawaja was appreciative of all-rounder Cameron Green, who shared a stand of 179 with the left-hander and rescued Australia from a spot of bother at 86/4 to declare at 265/6 and set a target of 388 for England with day five to follow on Sunday.
“It was awesome, he batted beautifully. Greeny scores so many runs against Queensland, I hate playing against him in Shield cricket. I was just talking to him as much as I could, just about what we’re trying to do out there. He was talking about spin and I was telling him what options I thought he should take. Just try to give him reassurance especially at the start. You could tell he’s a little bit nervous at the start — and just trying to give him the reassurance of what he needs to do.”
Asked on what Australia needed to do to be victorious with England needing 358 runs, Khawaja pointed out the cracks on the pitch and played the patience game. “It’s interesting. There’s the odd spot there, which is horrible. It’s just taking off and smacking you. It’s only here and there, and you hope you can get out of the way of it or hit the gloves or something. It will be interesting to see how tomorrow plays out.”
“Fingers-crossed, we get some good weather because we probably need all those 98 overs that we have It’s going to be a bit of a grind, but I think if we can keep on that grind for long enough and just keep asking questions over and over and over again. I think we’re in with a chance. I’d be surprised if they don’t try to go for the total. And, hopefully, tomorrow can be a really good day of Test cricket.”