Birmingham, June 18 – Opener Usman Khawaja hit his seventh Check century since being recalled by Australia to steer a strong effort on day two of the primary Ashes Check towards England at Edgbaston.
Khawaja’s good unbeaten 126, his fifteenth profession century however his first in Assessments in England, and his very important partnerships with Travis Head (50) and Alex Carey (52 not out) helped Australia end the day on 311/5, trailing by 82 with 5 wickets remaining.
Khawaja’s report since returning within the Sydney Check towards the identical opponents again in January of 2022 has been phenomenal.
The left-hander has hit tons in India and Pakistan in that point, in addition to reaching triple figures at dwelling towards South Africa and England. However his report in English situations had been poor earlier than this excellent knock in Birmingham.
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Khawaja has now scored 1747 runs within the 31 innings since his return to the Australian fold, averaging a rare 69.88 in that point.
And an emotional response from Khawaja upon reaching his landmark spoke to how vital this second is for the 36-year-old.
Australia had resumed on 14/0 after England declared on the primary day – the second time England have made such an uncommon transfer in 2023 below Ben Stokes’ captaincy. And a gradual opening half hour was quickly blown up by a Stuart Broad double strike.
A wafted drive with restricted footwork from David Warner noticed him inside edge the ball onto his stumps, and Labuschagne fell sufferer to Broad’s recently-honed outswinger the very subsequent ball, with Jonny Bairstow holding on to catch.
An tried leg-side entice to Steve Smith on the hat-trick ball didn’t repay, and Smith and Khawaja steadily ate by means of the morning session with a partnership of 38 throughout 16.4 overs earlier than Stokes had the important thing man trapped lbw for a 59-ball 16.
Australia went in at lunch 78/3, nonetheless 315 runs behind, with England having used seven bowlers within the first session – together with experimental single-over spells from part-timers Harry Brook and Joe Root.
Khawaja shared three essential partnerships, 81 runs for the fourth wicket with Head (50 off 63 balls, 8×4, 1×6), 72 for the fifth wicket with Cameron Inexperienced (38) and an unfinished stand of 91 with Carey (52 not out) as they ended the day at 311/5, nonetheless 82 runs adrift of England’s first innings rating and in an amazing place to take the lead.
Head was very extreme on Moeen Ali as he and Khawaja accomplished their fifties within the post-lunch session. However Stokes caught by his plan of maintaining the sector as much as Moeen, and he reaped rewards for that religion when Head tried one shot too many and fell to the returning spinner for a 63-ball 50.
And the 35-year-old Moeen may have had a second wicket in the identical over when a beautifully-flighted supply spun previous the charging Cameron Inexperienced just for Bairstow to overlook the stumping alternative.
Khawaja accomplished his century off 199 balls, hitting 12 boundaries and two sixes. His nearly blemish-free 126 carried Australia to a place the place they’ve 5 wickets in hand and simply 82 runs to overhaul the hosts. They may have been in a worse state of affairs and should thank Khawaja, Head and Carey moreover their fortunate stars for the place they discover themselves in.
England can solely blame themselves for not getting right into a extra formidable place having squandered a number of possibilities to pin their rivals to the canvas in the course of the day’s second half. Whereas keeper Jonny Bairstow muffed a stumping off Cameron Inexperienced (earlier than he had even scored) and dropped a catch from Alex Carey (on 26), their costliest miss was the reprieve supplied to Khawaja within the closing hour.
Stuart Broad claimed 2-49 driving on the early strikes whereas Moeen Ali, introduced out of retirement as a last-minute alternative, claimed 2-124 off 29 overs.
England 393/8d lead Australia 311/5 in 94 overs (Usman Khawaja 126 not out, Travis Head 50, Alex Carey 52 not out; Stuart Broad 2-49, Moeen Ali 2-124) by 82 runs.