England make bright start on a rainy day
Usman Khawaja's initial eight balls in international cricket provided some of the rare flourishes today in the fifth Ashes Test before he was out for 37 on the last ball of a gloomy, rain-shortened opening day. Scorecard | Sydney statscricket Updated: Jan 04, 2011 01:28 IST
Australia wasted a solid start on the rain-marred opening day of the final Ashes match against England at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday, despite a confident Test debut by Usman Khawaja.
The Pakistan-born Khawaja, 24, the first Muslim to play a Test for his adopted country and replacing injured Ricky Ponting, fitted in seamlessly with a poised start to his Test career before he fell for 37. Australia, under acting captain Michael Clarke and attempting to prevent England from winning their first series Down Under in 24 years, relinquished a hard-won start to be 134 for four when play was washed out late in the day.
Michael Hussey was the not out batsman on 12.
Seamer Tim Bresnan, who finished with two wickets, said it was England’s day. “We bowled well, put them under a lot of pressure in the first session. I think it was definitely our day,” Bresnan said.
“We certainly bowled well in the first session with the new ball and made them play in a way where they are not used to playing, so we’re happy with that.”
Khawaja’s accomplished two-hour knock ended when he top-edged a sweep off spinner Graeme Swann to Jonathan Trott at backward square leg. It was to be the last ball of the day before the rain swept in.
His first 15 runs flowed off 10 balls but England’s bowlers pinned him down and his next 22 runs were grafted off 85 balls. Khawaja caressed a two and a boundary off his first two balls in Tests to get off the mark through the leg-side and looked secure with his parents, Tariq and Fauzia, nervously watching from the stands.
But he was outwitted when Swann tossed one up in the 59th over of the innings and the batsman committed his first false stroke. Australia were looking to restore confidence after their crushing innings defeat in the fourth Melbourne Test that saw England retain the Ashes.
Clarke’s dismal series continued when he went hard at Bresnan and found James Anderson in the gully on four. Clarke, standing in for Ponting in this Test, struggled for 21 balls before he attempted to cut a ball too close to his body to give the chance just 11 minutes after a rain resumption. Clarke has scored just 152 runs in eight innings in the series at an average of 19.
The Australians looked more assured in their batting early after Clarke won the toss. The opening pair of Shane Watson and Phillip Hughes patiently left the majority of balls and put on 55 for the first wicket before Hughes fell in the last over before lunch.
Hughes’s concentration wavered when he needlessly sparred at a Chris Tremlett delivery outside offstump to edge to Paul Collingwood at third slip. Hughes had showed great application for his 31 off 93 balls up to that point with just three balls left in the session.
Watson played forward to a Bresnan outswinger and nicked to Andrew Strauss at first slip. Watson toiled for three hours for his 45 and could be heard to cry “Oh no” as Strauss pocketed the catch.
Bresnan followed up his six wickets in the Melbourne Test to have 2-47 off 16 overs. Rain and bad light forced a couple of interruptions during the day and play was washed out from the time Khawaja was dismissed. Showers are forecast to clear early Tuesday.
England, who lead the series 2-1, outplayed Australia in heavy defeats in Adelaide and Melbourne while Australia won the third Perth Test and the first Test at Brisbane was drawn. England were the last team to beat Australia at the SCG in 2003 by 225-runs.
Injured Ponting in world cup race
Injured Ricky Ponting will undergo surgery on a fractured finger on Tuesday, as he battles to be fit for February's World Cup. Ponting broke his left little finger during the third Test in Perth and aggravated it playing in the fourth in Melbourne. "Ricky had further x-rays today on his fractured finger which have shown that the bone fragment has further displaced and will not heal without surgery," according to team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris.
"As such Ricky will have surgery tomorrow. He is expected to miss the one-day international series against England and recover in time for the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup."
"With a World Cup around the corner I want to be the best player and leader I can through that tournament. And I want to play Test cricket post-World Cup as well, so that's what's in the future for me," said Ponting on Monday.