Khawaja lifts lid on ENG's ball change act after Ponting demands investigation | Crickit

Khawaja lifts lid on England's 'disappointing' ball change act in 5th Ashes Test win after Ponting demands investigation

Aug 01, 2023 01:09 PM IST

Australia opener Usman Khawaja opened up on the incident, calling it a "disappointing" act which saw the tourists lose momentum within minutes

After former Australia captain Ricky Ponting called for an investigation into England's change of balls that turned around the fortunes of the home team and eventually resulted in their 49-run series-levelling win in the fifth and final match of the 2023 Ashes series, opener Usman Khawaja opened up on the incident, calling the act 'disappointing'. In the 37th over, with Australia going strong at 126/0, Khawaja copped a blow to his helmet which also damaged the ball. However, the ball that was expected to be a like-for-like replacement, was relatively newer, shinier as Wood and England struck with the first delivery from the fresh Dukes. Australia lost momentum and their hopes of registering a first Ashes win in England since 2001 went up in smokes.

After Ricky Ponting, Usman Khawaja spoke about England's ball change act
After Ricky Ponting, Usman Khawaja spoke about England's ball change act

Ponting, who was left fuming, told Sky Sports: "The biggest concern I have is the big discrepancy in the condition of the ball that was chosen. There’s no way in the world you can even look at those two balls there and say in any way they are comparable. That is a huge moment in this game, potentially a huge moment in the Test match, and something I think has to be investigated. It was a perfect storm, conditions were perfect for bowling this morning.

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The England pace bowlers found it difficult against the Australia openers with the old Dukes not swinging, allowing Khawaja and David Warner to survive the new-ball burst and stitch their first ever century stand in the series, leaving England to look at other options. Australia did survive against what looked like a brand-new ball with the rain forcing an early end to Day 4, but England reaped the rewards early on Day 5. Warner and Khawaja fell in quick succession, giving the momentum back to England.

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Australia eventually lost by 49 runs with Chris Woakes emerging as the star with his four-wicket haul. After the match, Khawaja, speaking to Channel 9, revealed that he even raised the concern to on-field umpire Kumar Dharmasena while also warning others in the dressing room about the ball.

"As soon as they changed that ball, I knew straight away that ball was very different. I went up to (umpire Kumar Dharmasena) and asked, 'How old this ball? It feels like it's eight overs old.' You could see the writing both sides, and it hit my bat so hard. I've opened the batting in every single innings this Ashes series, and I haven't felt a ball hit my bat as hard as that ball. I said to the boys coming in, 'Be careful, this new ball is going to be tricky.'" Khawaja said.

"Some things you can't control in this game, and it's disappointing for us because it felt like we had a real stranglehold on that game. That ball was at 90 overs and it was still hooping around corners and the keeper's taking it above his head. It really hurts you. England is a class bowling attack, and if you give them a little inch, they will always get as much out of it."

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