Usman Khawaja Age, Biography, career, stats, networth, Ranking & News

Usman Khawaja

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Usman Khawaja To Open, Marcus Harris Misses Out For Hobart Test

Australian left-handed batter Usman Khawaja will retain his place in the XI for the final Test match at Hobart. However, he has been promoted to open the innings replacing Marcus Harris. Travis Head, who missed out on the fourth test match due to Covid-19, will return to no.5.

Notable that Khawaja scored twin hundreds at Sydney in his return to Test Cricket. It was his first test match in the last 16 months. Khawaja’s promotion means Marcus Harris will miss out who scored 179 runs with an average of 29.83.

Usman Khawaja.
Usman Khawaja. Getty Images.

Khawaja’s batting average as a Test opener is 96.80

“I think he (Harris) knew it was coming, The message to ‘Harry’ is that we think he’s going really well, it’s tough on him. It’s not too often that someone comes in and gets two hundreds in the same game. I thought Marcus has been really good, he’s been growing with each game. He was a huge part of why we won that MCG Test. He’s certainly part of the future, we’ll keep investing him,” Pat Cummins spoke to the media on the match eve.

The opening position is not something new for Khawaja as he had phenomenal success at top of the order. Khawaja, as an opener, scored 484 runs in 7 innings with an average of 96.80 which included 2 hundreds. He scored a hundred as an opener in the pink-ball Test against South Africa in Adelaide 2016.

Meanwhile, there are some doubts over Scott Boland’s availability for the pink ball Test at Hobart as the fast bowler is still recovering from his rib injury. Boland landed awkwardly on his ribs during the first innings of the Sydney Test. Boland had a sensational start to his Test career as he picked 14 wickets in 2 Tests with an average of 8.64 which included the figures of 6/7 in his debut Test match.

Usman Khawaja To Open, Marcus Harris Misses Out For Hobart Test 1
Scott Boland. Getty Images.

However, Cummins stated that both Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser are fit and available for the selection in case Boland misses out.

“Scotty’s ribs are the only factor, He’ll give that a go, if he’s not in then Jhye and Michael Neser are both fit. We’ll work that out this arvo. Jhye coming off a five-for in the pink ball (means) he’s probably the next one (in) but we’ll have that conversation when we need to,” Cummins told reporters.

“It’s a pretty tight turnaround between Tests. We think he (Boland) should be right but he’ll just have another bowl in the nets.” he added.

Australia is currently leading the series by 3-0 as the Sydney test ended on a thrilling draw when Anderson and Broad denied them the final wicket to avoid the possibility of a whitewash.

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Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
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Mike Hussey Praised Pat Cummins’ Captaincy In 4th Ashes Test-‘Almost Got The Job Done’

Mike Hussey, the former Australia batter hailed Pat Cummins’ captaincy after the fourth Ashes 2021/22 Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) ended in a draw. England batted for 102 overs to save the 4th Test. England lost the first match by 9 wickets at the Gabba, the second game by 275 runs at Adelaide Oval, and the third game by an innings and 14 runs at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Australia had England nine wickets down with two overs to go, but Stuart Broad and James Anderson managed to hang on and deny the hosts a win. Usman Khawaja’s remarkable Player of the Match performance, with centuries in both innings, ensured Australia was the only team that could win the match.

Mike Hussey BCCI/IPL
Mike Hussey BCCI/IPL

Mike Hussey: Tactically Speaking, Pat Cummins Did A Good Job As Skipper

Mike Hussey, however, said Australian pacer Pat Cummins did well as captain and nearly got the job done.

The 46-year-old said: “I thought he was very good. I would give him a very good mark out of 10. I think the way he rang the changes today, he changed the bowlers around from different ends. I thought his field positioning was excellent as well. Almost got the job done.”

Mike Hussey said the only question was whether Pat Cummins may have made the choice to declare earlier in their second innings to give the bowlers more time to knock England over, but admitted that tactically, he was spot on.

“The only thing is, if he had the chance again, would he have maybe declared perhaps half an hour earlier? They had plenty of runs on the board for that pitch. England were always going to struggle to get that many. But tactically speaking, he did a very, very good job,” Mike Hussey elaborated.

Pat Cummins Credit: AAP
Pat Cummins Credit: AAP

He also praised how Pat Cummins handled his bowling while also captaining the side. Mike Hussey noted that while he didn’t pick up a wicket for a while in the second innings, he came back to bowl a brilliant spell, dismissing Jos Buttler and Mark Wood in the same over.

“Cummins didn’t pick up a wicket in the second innings for quite a period of time and I was wondering if he was juggling in his mind between his captaincy side of things and the bowling side of things. But then, he was able to compartmentalise that, come back on for that amazing spell. He saw the moment and seized the moment.”

Australia skipper Pat Cummins defended his decision to delay a team declaration after being denied a fourth straight Test win by plucky England in Sydney on Sunday. The battered English team defended desperately in the final overs to cling on for a draw with just one wicket left– and end Australia’s quest for a five-Test series whitewash ahead of this week’s final Hobart match. Australia declared at 265 for six, leaving the tourists with a massive 388 runs to win.

Mike Hussey: Scott Boland Is A Captain’s Dream

Aussie pacer Scott Boland followed up his brilliant performance in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne with yet another good showing at the SCG. The pacer returned figures of 4/36 in England’s first innings and 3/30 in their second essay. Having made his Test debut at 32, Scott Boland is a late entrant into the international arena, but Mike Hussey said he had the advantage of experience and knowing his best game.

“I think the advantage he’s got is he has played a lot of First-Class Cricket. He has a great understanding of his game and what he needs to do to have success. Quite often when young players come into the Test match arena, they are still trying to find out what their best game looks like and what it feels like.”

Scott Boland. Getty Images.
Scott Boland. Getty Images.

Mike Hussey went on to lavish praise on the fast bowler, saying: “Scott Boland has been around for a long time, he’s had a lot of success. He thoroughly deserved his opportunity to play for Australia. And what a performance it’s been in his first two Test matches. The showing in Melbourne, he showed that it wasn’t just a flash in the pan and he can back it up with another fantastic performance.”

In conclusion, the southpaw said: “He’s a captain’s dream. He’s so disciplined with his line and length. I think he’s the most accurate bowler that’s ever played for Australia.”

Scott Boland surprised himself with a sensational debut at his home ground. The Victorian pacer returned with figures of 4-1-7-6 as Australia bowled England out for 68 in the second innings of the 3rd Test to retain the Ashes urn. He received the Johnny Mullagh medal as a player of the match in front of his home crowd. With Australia leading the Ashes 3-0, the final Test in Hobart is set to begin on January 14.

Michael Vaughan. (Image Credits: Getty)
Michael Vaughan. (Image Credits: Getty)
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Michael Vaughan In Favour Of Zak Crawley Being Given A Longer Run In Tests After His Impressive 77 In 2nd Innings Of 4th Test

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain on Sunday said that opening batter Zak Crawley can seriously play and he needs to be given a consistent run in the Three Lions squad.

Michael Vaughan’s remarks came as Zak Crawley impressed one and all with his 77-run knock in the second innings of the ongoing fourth Ashes Test here at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Michael Vaughan: Zak Crawley Needs To Be Given A Long Run In England’s Test Team

Opener Zak Crawley replaced Rory Burns in the English Test team after the poor batting technique and performance of the latter in the first few Ashes games. Meanwhile, Zak Crawley scored just 18 runs in the first innings of the Sydney Cricket Ground Ashes Test, however, in the second innings he looked amazing and smashed brilliant 77 runs off 100 balls including 13 boundaries.

Zak Crawley made a promising start to his career with a stellar 267 against Pakistan at Southampton. Although he averaged 52.73 amassing 580 runs in 7 Tests in 2020, his average dipped to a low in 2021, where he averaged a mere 10.81 managing only 173 runs in 8 Tests. He will want to silence his critics in 2022.

“Zak Crawley can seriously play … Not many positives from this Tour but he is certainly one who needs to be given a long run in this Test team,” tweeted Michael Vaughan.

Zak Crawley-Twitter
Zak Crawley-Twitter

Former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody replied to Michael Vaughan’s tweet and stated that young talent needs to be given an opportunity to grow in Test cricket. He also mentioned the name of Ollie Pope and opined he needs to be given more opportunities.

To this tweet, former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody replied: “I’d agree with you, once you identify the young talent they need the opportunity to grow into test cricket, Ollie Pope is the other.”

Defending a target of 388, Australia is only two wickets away from beating England in the ongoing fourth Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday. Zak Crawley scored a fine 77 while Ben Stokes also scored a fighting fifty.

Scott Boland has taken 3 scalps while Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon have taken two wickets each and Cameron Green also bagged a wicket, so far.  England is presently 247/8 chasing a stiff 388. England needs a further 141 runs to win with 2 wickets remaining.

Usman Khawaja Scored Centuries In Both Innings

Usman Khawaja scored his second century of the match to place Australia in a commanding position. The Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja has been in imperious form in his comeback from a 30-month Test exile, hitting 137 in the first innings before adding an unbeaten 101 to break English hearts.

Usman Khawaja celebrates making 100 runs against England during the fourth day of their Ashes cricket test match in Sydney.(AP)
Usman Khawaja celebrates making 100 runs against England during the fourth day of their Ashes cricket test match in Sydney. (AP) 

His domineering 179-run partnership with youngster Cameron Green set up a late declaration and left a beleaguered England having to defy history with a formidable target of 388.

Michael Vaughan. (Image Credits: Getty)
Michael Vaughan. (Image Credits: Getty)
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Michael Vaughan Reckons Justin Langer Is Doing A Fantastic Job As Australia’s Head Coach

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain has advised Australia against ending head coach Justin Langer’s tenure when his contract ends in mid-2022. Michael Vaughan believes Justin Langer has done a commendable job since taking the team’s charge three years ago.

Cricket Australia will decide whether or not to extend Justin Langer’s tenure after the ongoing Ashes 2021/22 series. While the West Australian intends to continue in the role and has done remarkably well, the board could replace Justin Langer.

Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Michael Vaughan Reckons Justin Langer’s Doing A Fantastic Job And If He Was Cricket Australia, He Would Sign Him Up For 2 More Years

Michael Vaughan said that Australia must extend Justin Langer’s contract. Justin Langer, Australia coach had earlier hinted that he would seek an extension of his four-year contract, expiring in June 2022, saying he “loves his job”. Justin Langer had faced criticism for his coaching methods from the players but now has a Twenty20 World Cup in his CV besides adding the coveted Ashes Trophy 2021/22 win to it.

The 47-year old feels the national team might suffer from Langer’s departure, so he should stay for two more years, saying: “I would jump at the chance. Be careful what you wish for – that’s all I’ll say. The grass is not always greener, and Justin Langer, from what I see – he’s doing a fantastic job. If I was Cricket Australia, I’d sign him up for at least a couple more years.”

Australia wins 2021 T20I World Cup In UAE [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]
Australia wins 2021 T20I World Cup In UAE [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]
Justin Langer came under serious pressure after last year’s home series loss to India. The 51-year old’s fraught relationship with the players also emerged. However, he boosted his chances of remaining with the team following the World T20 and Ashes 2021/22 wins.

Opener David Warner fired another shot at his critics and Mitchell Marsh scored a quickfire half-century as Australia cruised to its maiden T20 World Cup triumph, beating New Zealand by eight wickets.

Justin Langer was given the job to overhaul the team’s culture and regain the respect of the Australian public after the ball-tampering scandal of 2018 (Sandpaper Gate) which saw then skipper Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft banned for a year or so.

Michael Vaughan Suggests England May Appoint Justin Langer As Coach If Australia Doesn’t Want Him To Continue

Michael Vaughan also backs Justin Langer to lead Australia to an Ashes victory in England next year, trusting his knowledge and experience.

However, he also feels the 105-Test veteran would be a perfect fit for England’s coach, saying: “He’d take all that information to make sure that in 2023, Australia go on to win the Ashes convincingly in English conditions because they’ve got the squad and the mentality around the group with Justin’s kind of leadership to go on and do so. But if you don’t want him, yeah, we’ll have him.”

Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Australia has won the Ashes for the third time in a row as they lead the five-match series 3-0. They have beaten England convincingly in all three Tests.

In the ongoing Test, Usman Khawaja departed after scoring a fantastic century on return to Test cricket to power Australia to 416/8 declared in the first innings while Stuart Broad took a brilliant five-wicket haul on Day 2 of the 4th Ashes Test at the SCG.

Usman Khawaja was added to the Australia squad after middle-order batter Travis Head returned positive for COVID-19 last week. This is also Usman Khawaja’s first international match since the 2019 Ashes in England.

Australia has made one forced change in their XI for the 4th Test match as Usman Khawaja has replaced middle-order batter Travis Head who was ruled out for this match after testing positive for Covid-19. Meanwhile, pacer Scott Boland has been retained in the XI as Josh Hazlewood still hasn’t recovered from injury.

scott boland
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Australia Confirms Their XI For Sydney Test, Usman Khawaja Replaces Travis Head While Scott Boland Holds His Place

Australia has made one forced change in their XI for the 4th Test match as Usman Khawaja has replaced middle-order batter Travis Head who was ruled out for this match after testing positive for Covid-19. Meanwhile, pacer Scott Boland has been retained in the XI as Josh Hazlewood still hasn’t recovered from injury.

The hosts are currently leading the series by 3-0 with three comprehensive wins as Australia will be chasing the dream of another whitewash.

Australia Confirms Their XI For Sydney Test, Usman Khawaja Replaces Travis Head While Scott Boland Holds His Place 2
Usman Khawaja (File pic)

On Tuesday Australia captain Pat Cummins confirmed that Josh Hazlewood and Jhye Richardson hadn’t recovered yet.

“Just not quite up to 100%. We gave (Hazlewood) every chance we could. We just felt like he couldn’t quite bowl at full tilt yesterday,” Cummins spoke to reports on eve of the 4th Test.

“It’s no secret that if Joshy Hazlewood was available then he was going to play, He’s been just a brilliant bowler for us for a long period of time. We gave Josh every chance we could, just felt like he couldn’t bowl at full tilt yesterday. We’re still hoping he’ll be right for Hobart,”  he added

Australia.
Mitchell Swepson. Getty Images.

“I don’t think anywhere in Australia dictated two-spinner strategy”Cummins

However, Cummins is quite pleased that Scott Boland who was the player of the match in the Melbourne Test will get another go. Scott Boland returned with figures of 1/48 and 6/7 in his debut Test match at Melbourne.

“You need that disciplined stump-to-stump bowler and that’s what Scotty brings to the table. It would have been a real shame to see Scotty not play this week after his efforts last week. He’s bowling as well as he ever has, it’s great that he can keep going from last week,” Cummins said.

There were some talks that Australia might give Mitchell Swepson a chance since the Sydney surface offers something for the spinners. 

“I don’t think anywhere in Australia that I’ve played in the last two years has dictated a two-spinner, He’s a class bowler and we’re itching to get him into the side one day. We think he will debut at some stage, most likely overseas,” He added.

Australia will travel to Pakistan for 3 Tests, 3 ODIs and one T20I in March-April this year.

Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (captain), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland

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James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
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James Anderson Thought England Had A Chance To Regain Ashes Urn But Plans Failed

James Anderson, the England pacer expressed his disappointment at the team’s efforts in the ongoing Ashes. James Anderson said he genuinely believed England could regain the Ashes 2021/22 urn by beating Australia Down Under this time around.

England’s Ashes campaign was ground to dust as they crashed to an innings defeat in a must-win third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australia’s relentless bowling unit bundled the visitors out for 68. Scott Boland surprised himself with a sensational debut at his home ground. The Victorian pacer returned with figures of 4-1-7-6 in England’s 2nd innings.

Scott Boland.
Scott Boland. Getty Images.

James Anderson Thought England Squad Would Compete But The Plans Failed

James Anderson admitted England has failed to execute their plans in all three Tests, surrendering abjectly without any effort to compete.

Citing his disappointment at not meeting expectations, the 39-year-old stated: “The first three games have been really gutting. The lads are pretty flat at the minute. I genuinely thought we had a good chance when we came over here. I thought the squad we’ve got would be able to compete but it’s clearly not gone to plan.”

England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson , Twitter
England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson, Twitter

He added: “The more senior players have to rally round and make sure everyone is in a good headspace to compete because the first three games have been really gutting.”

Although James Anderson gave his best in the two Tests he played, England’s batting unit has collapsed in all six innings played so far. The team has been reliant on Joe Root, who has had a prolific 2021, amassing 1708 runs.

James Anderson Gutted For Not Performing For Fans Urging Teammates To Leave No Stone Unturned

James Anderson urged his teammates to leave no stone unturned in the final two Tests and give the England supporters something to cheer for.

The Lancashire seamer said: “I think we’ve just got to throw absolutely everything at the next two games. We’re aware that we’ve got so much support and I know people are getting up in the middle of the night watching us as well at home. We are just gutted that we’re not performing for those people and giving them what they want to see.”

Travis Head has tested positive for Covid 19 Getty Images
Travis Head has tested positive for Covid 19 Getty Images

James Anderson was part of England’s 2010-11 Ashes series victory, emerging as the highest wicket-taker that year. Since then, the veteran has seen Australia steamroll his side in the previous two tours. This tour could possibly be his final appearance Down Under, as James Anderson will want to sign off with two wins.

Mitchell Marsh, Nic Maddinson, and Josh Inglis have been called up as cover as Australia batter Travis Head has tested positive for Covid-19.  Australia already has Usman Khawaja with the squad and he would be the likely replacement for Travis Head in the middle order. England head coach Chris Silverwood, like Travis Head, will miss the Sydney Test and remain in isolation in Melbourne after one of his family members tested Covid-19 positive.

Captain Pat Cummins, who missed the second test due to a Covid scare, is one pacer assured of playing. If fellow pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood both play, it means there will be no room for debutant Scott Boland despite his stunning 6/7 on debut at the MCG.  Spinner Mitchell Swepson could also play if there is a turning wicket in Sydney and Australia decide to play two spinners, with allrounder Cameron Green as the third seamer.

James Anderson has been one of England’s standout performers in the series and took 4-33 from his 23 overs, including 10 maidens, as England bowled Australia out for 267 on day two of the third Test. He has picked 7 scalps in 2 Tests averaging a mere 14.14.

Josh Hazlewood will now work towards being fit for Melbourne Getty Images
Josh Hazlewood will now work towards being fit for Melbourne Getty Images
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Ashes 2021/22: Josh Hazlewood Ruled Out Of Adelaide Test

Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide due to the side strain he picked up in Brisbane with Jhye Richardson, Western Australia quick, favourite to replace him.
Josh Hazlewood bowled on the fourth day at the Gabba, having been held back for a large part of the innings after scans had shown a “very minor” strain but it was always unlikely he would be risked for the day-night Test.
Josh Hazlewood (Pic Source: Twitter)
Josh Hazlewood (Pic Source: Twitter)

Josh Hazlewood Ruled Out Of 2nd Ashes Test And Returned To Sydney

The pacer returned to Sydney on Sunday rather than head to Adelaide with the focus now on being ready for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Like all the Australian pacers, he came into the Ashes without any long-form match practice. Josh Hazlewood has taken 32 wickets at 19.90 in seven day-night Tests. The series now includes a second match under lights following the relocation of the Perth fixture to Hobart.

Josh Hazlewood reportedly flew out of Brisbane to Sydney on Sunday afternoon for further assessment and rehabilitation with a decision on his fitness for the Boxing Day Test (Melbourne, December 26) to be made in due course. The Cricket Australia (CA) selection panel will likely choose between Queensland’s Michael Neser and Western Australia’s Jhye Richardson as Josh Hazlewood’s replacement.

Jhye Richardson of Western Australia. Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images
Jhye Richardson of Western Australia. Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images
Josh Hazlewood, who was a part of Australia’s T20 World Cup-winning squad last month, took 3-74 in 27 overs in the match but only bowled eight of 70 overs on day three and 6 more on Day 4 in Brisbane before being ruled out.
He didn’t bowl on the third afternoon in Brisbane and was sent for a scan on Friday night which showed he was at least fit enough to bowl on Saturday. The right-arm pacer (14-6-32-1) got through six overs on day four and claimed the Jos Buttler in what was ultimately a nine-wicket win for the hosts.

Jhye Richardson-2 Test Veteran Frontrunner To Replace Josh Hazlewood But Uncapped Michael Neser Another Contender

Jhye Richardson is the frontrunner to come into the pace attack having enjoyed an impressive Sheffield Shield season where he has claimed 23 wickets at 13.43. He played his previous two Tests against Sri Lanka in 2019, his debut coming in a day-night match at the Gabba where he claimed match figures of 5 for 45.
Australia A's Michael Neser. Photo by Peter Wallis/Getty Images
Australia A’s Michael Neser. Photo by Peter Wallis/Getty Images
However, the uncapped Michael Neser produced a timely reminder of his credentials by taking seven wickets against England Lions including 5 for 29 in the first innings. Australia has not made any additions to the squad for the second Test.
David Warner did not field during England’s second innings in Brisbane or bat in the small chase after a blow to the ribs against Ben Stokes but is expected to be fit. Usman Khawaja is the spare batter.
David Warner. Credits: Twitter
David Warner. Credits: Twitter
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Ashes 2021/22: David Warner Doubtful For Adelaide Test

David Warner, the Australian opener was in “severe discomfort” after copping a “nasty blow” on day two of the 1st Gabba Ashes 2021/22 Test match against England. Australian opener David Warner has not taken the field in England’s second innings at the Gabba due to “severely bruised ribs” he sustained during the first Ashes Test.

David Warner scored 94 in Australia’s first innings before he was deceived by England seamer Ollie Robinson on Thursday afternoon, chipping a slower ball directly to mid-off. He fell six runs short of becoming the third cricketer to score five Test centuries at the iconic Brisbane venue.

David Warner
David Warner (Image Credits: Twitter)

David Warner Didn’t Field After Copping A Knock From A Ben Stokes Bouncer During His 94 In Australia’s 1st Innings

However, David Warner was not spotted on the field when England’s second innings got underway. Cricket Australia revealed that the 35-year-old was off the field with bruised ribs, and West Australian seamer Jhye Richardson had replaced him as a substitute fielder. David Warner was replaced by a substitute fielder in England’s innings on day three after copping a knock from a Ben Stokes bouncer during his innings of 94 on day two at The Gabba.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

David Warner is believed to have injured his ribs during the first innings of the Gabba Test, in which he scored 94. He did not bat in the second innings, in which Australia needed just 20 to win. Usman Khawaja, who was recalled to the Australian squad is likely to replace him if he’s ruled out. Queensland opener Bryce Street is set to be added to the Australian squad and will be a contender for the opening slot as well.

England was bundled out for 147 in their first innings after opting to bat first. In response, Australia piled 425 and took a massive lead of 278 runs. Joe Root showed some resistance in the second innings, scoring 89 and along with Dawid Malan’s 82, England posted 297 on the scoreboard. Australia then wrapped up the show and as expected the hosts then chased down the 20-run target comfortably.

Josh Hazlewood Will Also Miss 2nd Test As He Flew Home

Josh Hazlewood, the right-arm pacer returned to bowl six overs on day four and had Jos Buttler caught behind for 23 as Australia won by nine wickets. For Australia, losing Josh Hazlewood’s services will be a big blow ahead of the day-night encounter at the Adelaide Oval as has scalped 32 wickets at an average of 19.90 in pink-ball Tests.

In last summer’s pink-ball Test against India, Josh Hazlewood was the chief architect of India being shot out for 36 in the second innings, picking 5/8 in just five overs. Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has reportedly been ruled out of the second Ashes Test on Adelaide, starting December 16 and as a result, has flown back home. Opening batter David Warner’s participation too is in doubt.

Josh Hazlewood (Pic Source: Twitter)
Josh Hazlewood (Pic Source: Twitter)

Jhye Richardson is set to be Josh Hazlewood’s replacement, which would mean that he would play just his third Test, his first after debuting against Sri Lanka in 2019. He has picked up six wickets from two matches so far. However, Michael Neser, who picked up seven wickets, including a five-wicket haul in the first innings against the Lions could also be in contention.

Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century during game five of the One Day International series between India and Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground on March 13, 2019 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Usman Khawaja of Australia celebrates scoring his century during game five of the One Day International series between India and Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground on March 13, 2019 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
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Usman Khawaja Can Replace Injured David Warner If The Opener Is Ruled Out Of 2nd Test: Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting, the former Australia skipper feels Usman Khawaja can replace David Warner for the second Ashes Test if the opening batter is ruled out of the game due to an injury.

England and Australia’s 1st Ashes 2021/22 Test concluded with a convincing win for Australia. David Warner on Friday did not take the field after receiving blows on the chest while batting on day two of the first Test. He also didn’t come out to open in the 2nd innings to chase a small 20 runs target.

Australia opening batter David Warner (Photo/ ICC Twitter)
Australia opening batter David Warner (Photo/ ICC Twitter)

Ricky Ponting In Favour To Give Usman Khawaja A Chance To Open If David Warner Is Unfit For The 2nd Test

David Warner on Friday didn’t take the field after Australia were bowled out for 425, taking a 278-run lead in the first innings of the ongoing first Ashes Test in Brisbane. The left-hand batsman is currently nursing bruised ribs and fortunately, the scans have shown that he hasn’t suffered a fracture. David Warner coped a nasty blow to his chest from Ben Stokes while batting on the second day at the Gabba.

“If (Warner) can’t play, I think it’s probably Khawaja that goes in and opens the batting. Although he hasn’t done it the last couple years for Queensland he’s done it for Australia before,” Ricky Ponting was quoted as saying.

Ricky Ponting (Image Credit: Twitter)
Ricky Ponting (Image Credit: Twitter)

“He’s obviously in really good form, so I think that’s probably the way to go. I think he’s experienced enough, but the fact he hasn’t done it for a while would be a bit of a concern,” Ricky Ponting added.

The Australia opening batter received a brutal blow on the same spot while fielding from England’s Ben Stokes which further put David Warner in discomfort.

“It’s a worry that he’s not out there at all. We’ll have a better idea when he bats or if he bats at all in the second innings,” said Ricky Ponting.

“I noticed that after he got hit, he came out after one of the breaks and you could see that he had a little (chest), guard, over that area. I got a bit worried about it then because I’ve never seen him with a chest guard on before,” Ricky Ponting added.

“Even if it’s just bruising, I would think that he’d be out there fielding so there might be a bit more to it than what we’re hearing,” Ricky Ponting further said.

David Warner was injured when hit in the ribs while making 94 in Australia’s first innings.

Australia Won The 1st Ashes 2021/22 Test After Travis Head’s 152

Coming to the game, Joe Root and Dawid Malan kept staged England’s fightback as the two batters steadied the visitors’ ship by the end of Day 3 of the ongoing first Ashes Test here at the Gabba, Brisbane on Friday. At the Stumps, England’s score read 220/2– trailing by 58 runs. Dawid Malan and Joe Root have played unbeaten knocks of 80 and 86 runs respectively. England collapsed from 223-2 to 297 all out on day four.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

Australia was bowled out for 425, taking a 278-run lead in the first innings of the ongoing first Ashes Test in Brisbane. Nathan Lyon, skipper Pat Cummins, David Warner, and Travis Head were the standout performers as Australia defeated England by nine wickets in the first Ashes 2021/22 Test at the Gabba, Brisbane on Saturday.

Chasing 20, Alex Carey (9) and Marcus Harris (9*) made light work of the 20 run target chase and the hosts registered victory in just 5.1 overs. Earlier, Travis Head took just 85 balls to reach triple figures and smashed the England bowlers all over the park. His knock of 152 off just 148 balls was laced with 14 boundaries and four sixes.

The 34-year-old Usman Khawaja’s last Test was against England in the Headingley Test in 2019, made famous by Ben Stokes’ match-winning innings of 135. Usman Khawaja has averaged 40.66 in 44 Tests, with eight centuries and fourteen 50s.

Usman Khawaja was recalled to Australia‘s 15-man squad to face England in the 2021-22 Ashes series, while Alex Carey was a late addition after regular skipper Tim Paine stepped away from the sport to take an “indefinite mental health break”.

Pat Cummins Credit: AAP
Pat Cummins Credit: AAP
/

Pat Cummins Reveals 1st Ashes 2021/22 Test Playing Australian XI

Pat Cummins, the new Australian skipper after Tim Paine stepped down,  has confirmed the XI he will take into the opening Vodafone Men’s Ashes Test match, with Travis Head winning the race to bat at No.5, while Mitchell Starc holds his place in the bowling attack. The announcement came at the official launch of the Test series, as players huddled around the crystal replica trophy.

Selectors had already confirmed that Alex Carey would be Australia’s wicketkeeper for the Gabba, replacing former skipper Tim Paine. Travis Head made his Test debut against Pakistan in Dubai in 2018 and played most of the Ashes series the following year. His last match was last year’s Boxing Day Test against India.

Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Australia XI: Marcus Harris, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.


Pat Cummins: It Was Tough To Choose Between Usman Khawaja And Travis Head But The Latter Was Chosen For More Recent Test Appearances

Pat Cummins said it was a “tight one” to choose between Travis Head and Queensland captain, Usman Khawaja, to bat in the middle order, but Travis Head’s position as the more recent Test representative for the Aussies gave him the edge over the 34-year-old Usman Khawaja, who will turn 35 later this month, and is eight years older than the South Australian.

Travis Head has averaged 39.75 in 19 Tests for Australia, with two centuries and seven 50s. The 34-year-old Usman Khawaja’s last Test was against England in the Headingley Test in 2019, made famous by Ben Stokes’ match-winning innings of 135. Usman Khawaja has averaged 40.66 in 44 Tests, with eight centuries and 14 50s.

“It was a tight one. Both really good options, really strong form,” said Pat Cummins.

“Experience is great from Uzzie and we feel really lucky to have that in the squad, but Trav’s been playing a lot for us the last couple of years. He’s gone away and he’s churned out runs in England, here in Australia, and we feel like he’s really ready to go,” said Pat Cummins.

Usman Khawaja (pictured right) and Travis Head (pictured left) walk on to the field.
Usman Khawaja (pictured right) and Travis Head (pictured left) have been included in Australia’s 15-man Ashes squad. (Getty Images)

The public endorsement of the Australian side still three days out from the coin toss on Wednesday morning follows the trend set by national selector George Bailey, who publicly endorsed Victorian Marcus Harris as an opener in early November.

Marcus Harris has since credited that with allowing him to focus on the task rather than worrying about selection issues, saying: “It was just good to have some clear communication with a selector about what I was doing, what was in their minds and what was in their thinking for me. I think it’s good for your confidence as a player to know where you stand and having the backing of (selectors) is really good.”

While Pat Cummins was happy to confirm the side, England skipper Joe Root declined to follow suit but said spinner Jack Leach remained in contention to play.

“We’ve got all the options on the table (but) we’re not going to name a team just yet,” Root said. “We’ll have to see the closer forecase and how that pitch changes over the next couple of days. But it’s a great place to play spin. It’s something we’ll weigh up and consider, but we’re not in a position to make that call right now.”

England has named a surprisingly settled squad for the upcoming Ashes 2021/22 tour, despite having lost six of their last nine Tests, and won just one. The squad contains no debutants, and all involved played Test cricket during the 2021 English summer.

Mitchell Starc And Josh Hazlewood Are Likely To Take The New Ball While Skipper Pat Cummins Will Be First Change

Australia’s selectors have kept the faith with the ‘Big Three’ combination of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood that has collected a combined 631 Test wickets. Mitchell Starc had been in doubt to hold his spot, especially with Jhye Richardson, who had taken 15 wickets in his past two Sheffield Shield matches – including eight at the Gabba last month – bowling with accuracy and searing pace.

Mitchell Starc took 9 wickets in four Tests in Australia’s last Test series against India and his inconsistent performances continued at the T20 World Cup.

Australia's Mitchell Starc
Australia’s Mitchell Starc- Image Credit: AFP

Pat Cummins said Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were likely to still take the new ball, with the new captain keeping himself in reserve for the first change. On Saturday Australia head coach Justin Langer gave a strong endorsement of the incumbent pace trio’s preparation, despite the wet Brisbane weather in the lead-up.

“(Their preparation) has been excellent,” Langer said.

“We had some brilliant center-wicket practice (at Metricon Stadium), we always thought that their workloads coming from the World Cup and because we went so deep, that we might’ve had to work a bit harder on that, but they’ve been great.”

“They’ve had three or four center-wicket sessions, and you saw how the boys bowled (Saturday) – they’re up and about, and they’re very confident after the World Cup, and with the experience of their careers. So I’m happy with the way they’re going.” 

India upset Australia at the Gabba in January, but more bowler-friendly conditions are expected when the ground hosts the first Test on the back of a historically-wet Spring.

Vodafone Men’s Ashes

Squads

Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

Schedule

First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba

Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval

Third Test: December 26-30, MCG

Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG

Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium

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