Australian star Usman Khawaja made his Test return in grand style after smashing a tremendous century on Day 2 of the ongoing fourth Ashes Test against England at Sydney Cricket Ground. Khawaja had a homecoming of his own as 11 years ago, in 2011, he had debuted at this very ground against the same opponent in the longest format.
Khawaja was given a lifeline on 28 when England skipper Joe Root had put down his catch at first slip. However, the left-handed batter never looked back and reached three figures in the final over before tea when he whipped away to deep backward square for three off Jack Leach.
It was Khawaja’s ninth hundred in Test cricket, and he looked extremely happy, leaping with joy after, acknowledging his family in the crowd, then hugging skipper Pat Cummins.
“He’s played like a man who knows his game. He’s missed out on some competitive cricket for a little while now, but this is a man who knows how to build an innings in Test cricket. He’s done it that many times before, he’s at a stadium he knows really well. He’s taken his time,” said Isa Guha during commentary for Fox Cricket.
Khawaja was cleaned up by Stuart Broad in the 132nd over before Australia declared their first innings at 416/8. The Queenslander scored 137 off 260 deliveries, including 13 boundaries. Apart from Khawaha, vice-captain Steve Smith (67), Marcus Harris (38), Mitchell Starc (34 no), David Warner (30), and Marnus Labuschagne (28) made valuable contributions to the team’s total.
For the tourists, Broad was the pick of the bowler, taking a brilliant five-wicket haul for 101 in 29 overs. James Anderson (1/54), Mark Wood (1/76) and Root (1/36) bagged one wicket apiece.
In response, England posted 13/0 in the five overs with their openers Haseeb Hameed (2 no) and Zak Crawley (2 no) at the crease.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
— David Warner (@davidwarner31) January 6, 2022
— Marnus Labuschagne (@marnus3cricket) January 6, 2022
Throughout the summer, as he’s piled on the runs in the #SheffieldShield, @Uz_Khawaja has said repeatedly that he’d stopped thinking about a Test return & was focusing purely on scoring runs for Queensland & he’s batted with the same lack of fuss here on his Test return #Ashes
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) January 6, 2022
— Queensland Cricket (@qldcricket) January 6, 2022
— Erin Holland (@erinvholland) January 6, 2022
— Jessica Jonassen (@JJonassen21) January 6, 2022
What a fantastic 100 under pressure and getting another opportunity. Nothing beats a test match 100 at the #scg in front of the family. Well done @Uz_Khawaja a very classy knock on that deck #100 #cricket #scg #ashes https://t.co/4oMpuxV9Tl
— Damien Martyn🏏 (@damienmartyn) January 6, 2022
What a great Comeback and superb century by @Uz_Khawaja 👏🏻👏🏻
— Kamran Akmal (@KamiAkmal23) January 6, 2022
— Phil Hillyard (@philthy295) January 6, 2022
King Khawajy 😍 💯 🔥 Couldn’t happen to a better and more deserving bloke pic.twitter.com/0BBGHTzaJE
— Chris Green (@chrisgreen_93) January 6, 2022
— Lisa Sthalekar (@sthalekar93) January 6, 2022
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 6, 2022
Jan 6 2018 – Usman Khawaja hits a ton vs ENG
Jan 6 2022 – Usman Khawaja hits a ton vs ENG
— Swamp (@sirswampthing) January 6, 2022
— Jarrod Walsh (@jarrodwalsh) January 6, 2022