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Aus vs Eng: 4th Test, Ashes 2021-22: Khawaja's comeback century helps Aus to 416-8d; Eng 13-0

Usman Khawaja brings up his ninth Test century on his comeback

Aus vs Eng: 4th Test, Ashes 2021-22: Usman Khawaja's comeback century helps Australia to 416-8d; England 13-0
Usman Khawaja celebrates his comeback century (©AFP/GettyImages)

Brief Scores: Aus 416 for 8 (Khawaja 137, Smith 67, Broad 101/5) lead over Eng 13/0 (Crawley 2*) by 413 runs at Stumps on Day 2

On a rain-marred first day of the fourth Test of Ashes 2021-22, Australia made 126 after losing three wickets. Australia wanted to post a respectable total to put pressure over their old opponents. England wanted to take early wickets to wrap the hosts as early as possible.

Intermittent rain continues to halt the game

Unbeaten batters from yesterday, Steven Smith and Usman Khawaja, started cautiously today, in overcast conditions. After only four overs, rain started to drizzle. However, the game started in a few minutes as rain stopped. Right-arm pacer James Anderson and left-arm spinner Jack Leach bowled tight lines to the batting duo.

Khawaja was dropped by skipper Joe Root on 30 as the catch got deflected by the gloves of wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. Both batters continued to take singles to keep the scoreboard moving. Smith reached his 33rd fifty in 116 deliveries. Umpires took a lunch break after Australia crossed the 200-mark.

Steven Smith and Usman Khawaja complete 100-run partnership

After the lunch break, Smith and Khawaja freed their hands to accumulate runs through boundaries. Smith clobbered a beautiful boundary off Leach towards cover-point. As pacers didn’t look much threatening, England skipper Joe Root put himself in to bowl. Khawaja pulled a short ball bowled by Root to get a boundary through mid-wicket. Both batters completed a hundred run partnership in the meantime.

Australia lost two quick wickets

After a brief spell by the spinners, the experienced pace duo of visitors, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, returned to the attack. Smith looked to be in an attacking mode and cracked two boundaries off Broad in an over. However, the pacer hit back with a sharp delivery the straightened after pitching and took the edge of the bat of Smith. Wicketkeeper Buttler took the regulation catch on his right side. So, Australia lost Smith who scored 67 runs off 141 deliveries with the help of five boundaries.

Khawaja completed his fifty in 134 deliveries. He is making a comeback to the Test side after more than two years. New batter Cameron Green looked scratchy as he edged a delivery bowled by Mark Wood which went between the slip fielders to the boundary rope. He pushed towards the ball bowled by Broad resulting in a thick edge and third slip Zak Crawley completed the catch. After back-to-back two wickets, the host's innings looked in trouble though Khawaja looked comfortable on the pitch after completing his fifty. The Australian batter started to deal in boundaries thereon. He pummelled a boundary with a leg glance towards fine leg off Wood. Also, he didn’t shy to pull short balls towards the boundary rope.

Usman Khawaja reached his ninth Test century

After a brief period of no boundaries, wicketkeeper batter Alex Carey and Khawaja started to milk runs by smashing boundaries. Especially, Khawaja looked to attack spinners to amass runs quickly. He hammered two boundaries off left-arm orthodox spinner, Leach. Carey tried to slog spinner Root over mid-wicket, however, the ball took the top edge of the bat and Jonny Bairstow grabbed the catch. Carey returned to the pavilion on 13 off 39 balls. Khawaja looked in a hurry to complete his ninth Test century. He smashed a few boundaries to reach 99 after Australia crossed the 300-run mark. On the other end, Pat Cummins struck two back-to-back boundaries off Wood. Khawaja reached his century in 201 deliveries by taking a triple off Leach. Australia reached 321 runs after losing six wickets till Tea break.

Hosts lost Pat Cummins after his quickfire knock

After the break, Cummins continued to smash boundaries. On a close LBW shout, Cummins was given out by the umpire, however, after the batter reviewed the decision, the ball looked to be missing the leg stump on the ball-tracking system. So, umpire had to reverse his decision and Cummins survived. However, Cummins lost his wicket after two overs only as Broad bowled an incisive bouncer which the batter couldn’t control and the ball was pouched by Buttler behind the wickets. However, the umpire held it as not-out after which England skipper Root had to use DRS. The replay showed a big spike on UltraEdge and the umpire had to overturn his decision. Cummins made 24 runs off 47 balls with four swashbuckling boundaries.

Mitchell Starc and Usman Khawaja complete fifty-run partnership

Next batter Michell Starc and Khawaja continued to defy the opposition bowlers. They kept ticking the scoreboard with singles and doubles. England bowlers struggled to wrap up the innings of Australia due to the lower-order resistance.

Khawaja got bowled off Broad while the batter pushed away from the body and the ball took the inside edge of the bat and shattered the stumps. He returned to the pavilion after a phenomenal knock of 137 runs off 260 deliveries. Broad completed his 19th fifer in Test cricket with this wicket of Khawaja.

Australia declared on 416/8

Next batter Nathan Lyon brought up 400 runs of Australia by smashing a boundary through mid-wicket. Lyon smashed a boundary and a gigantic six off Broad. Australia skipper Cummins declared the innings on 416 after losing eight wickets.

England 13/0 at Stumps

England opening duo of Haseeb Hameed and Zak Crawley started cautiously against the opposition pacers. Crawley got caught at slip off Mitchell Starc on duck, however, front-foot no-ball by the pacer saved the batter. Umpires announced Stumps after five overs in the innings and England openers managed to survive the tough twilight period.

What Lies Ahead?

England would want to post a good total tomorrow, whereas Australia would want to put the visitors under pressure by picking early wickets.

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