The Ashes: The century of Usman Khawaji leaves England in the struggle to save the Sydney Test

Fourth Ashes Test, Sydney (day four of five)
Australia 416-8 pros & 265-6 pros (Khawaja 101 *, Green 74; Leachate 4-84)
England 294 & 30-0 (Crawley 22 *, Hameed 8 *)
England needs 358 more runs to win

Australian Usman Khawaja struck another posh century to leave England and had to fire on the last day to save the fourth Ashes Test at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Khawaja played an undefeated 101 of 138 balls to follow his 137 in the first inning as Australia set England an unlikely win of 388.

With the approaching dark storm clouds, England’s start-up team Zak Crawley and Haseeb Hameed survived a difficult 11 over and 50 minutes to reach 30-0 on the stumps.

Crawley will resume the 22nd and Hameed Eight when the game resumes on Saturday at 23:00 GMT, with 98 overs scheduled for the last day of the forecast is mixed.

Khawaja shared partnership 179 with Cameron Green (74) for a fifth goal as the hosts recovered from 86-4 to keep Australian hopes of a clean 5-0 series alive.

Earlier in the day, England added 36 runs to its 258-7 night, with Jonny Bairstow managing to add just 10 more runs before he fell behind Scott Boland and dropped to 113.

This left a deficit in the first inning of 122 and the sad series with the bat continued, with tourists not yet reaching 300.

Substitute Ollie Pope kept the goal behind England – and did a great job catching four catches – with Jose Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, both of whom spent the day off the field with a hand injury.

They – along with Ben Stokes, who started on the pitch despite persistent problems with stretching the left side – went through the scans and will continue to be judged before the fifth test, which begins in Hobart on January 14.

Master Khawaja dulls England

Khawaja’s shift was another master class that English batsmen would do much harder than watching and learning from it.

Mark Wood, a poisonous bouncer, hit the first ball of the 35-year-old right and started slowly and didn’t look smooth in the move, but importantly, he managed to protect the goal and lead an inexperienced Green, who was ragged. for much of his shifts, through the sticky period.

Australia always had control of the game, but at 86-4, the door was slightly ajar for England, which played well and controlled the scoring rate.

The stand between Khawaja and Green closed it tightly again and locked it with a double padlock.

Khawaja, who now recorded more runs than any English batsman other than Joe Root in the series, backed, retracted and ran through the covers with elegant grace after a well-deserved 10th century test.

For Australia, this meant a dream return to the test team, and when he composed after the celebrations, he was visibly emotional.

Before the Test, he was talking about Travis Head – who had tested positive on Covid-19 – who had earned his place in the final test, but Khawaja must now appear in Hobart.

Test Match Special commentator Geoff Lemon joked that “there will be fights on the streets” if Australia tries to drop him now.

Usman Khawaji's car wheel from his 101 * against England on the SCG

England begins the battle and ends

The fact that Crawley and Hameed’s uninterrupted partnership of 30 years is England’s tallest stand in the series sums up the challenging four weeks.

They had to fight, the weather was approaching and the light was getting worse, but there was very little fear.

Hameed got far ahead of the slip cordon as Boland’s rising van hit the shoulder of Crawley’s bat and flew over the tight catchers, but the openers gave England a chance to save the Test.

In the field, England was excellent in the morning session and in the first hour after lunch to limit Australia and create an opening, but as usual, they could not use it.

Wood played well again, playing 2-65, while Jack Leach had his best day in the series when he played 4-84.

England set up a better, more offensive field for the left arm, who was denied a chance to have a hat-trick when Pat Cummins said after Green and Alex Carey fell in the ball.

“England has a chance,” they said

Temporary England coach Graham Thorpe at TMS: “I am confident [that we can draw] that if we have the right approach and if we don’t go to our bunkers as well, because I think that when you play for a draw, you have to keep that intention, because it will make you move better and you will be able to make better decisions.

“I want the boys to enjoy the match tomorrow – Australia will be tough and tonight was a good example that the temperament and technique of our players are good.”

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja: “I couldn’t stop smiling, I was grateful for a hundred, but I’ll have another one.

“It reminds me of an old school SCG goal. Let’s hope it’s a dry day and we experience a bit of a reverse. Nathan Lyon will come into play.”

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew at TMS: “England has a chance to save this game and people will expect it from them. It would mean a lot to them if they could.”

Former Australian Captain Ian Chappell at TMS: “I was really impressed with Ollie Pope’s goal – he was far above Jose Buttler. Especially his footwork was impressive.”


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