Usman Khawaja’s unbeaten century has put Australia in a strong position in the fourth and final test against India.
The Narendra Modi Stadium’s pitch finally provided some relief to the batters, and Australia’s top-order took full advantage of the favorable conditions.
The series’ first wicketless session occurred during Khawaja and Smith’s partnership, but Jadeja’s excellent bowling soon ended it.
India will need to win the match to advance to the final of the World Test Championship.
Who is Usman Khawaja?
Usman Khawaja is a professional cricketer from Australia. He was born on December 18, 1986, in Islamabad, Pakistan, but later moved to Australia with his family when he was five years old. Khawaja is a left-handed top-order batsman and occasional spin bowler.
He made his first-class debut for New South Wales in 2008 and his international debut for Australia in 2011. Khawaja has played for the Australian national team in all three formats of the game – Test, One Day International, and Twenty20 International.
Khawaja is known for his stylish and elegant stroke play, and he has been a consistent performer in domestic and international cricket. He has scored over 9,000 runs in first-class cricket and has an average of over 40 in Test cricket.
In addition to his cricketing skills, Khawaja has also been an advocate for diversity and inclusion in Australian cricket. He has spoken out against racism and discrimination in the sport and has been actively involved in promoting greater cultural understanding and acceptance within the cricketing community.
On Thursday, Usman Khawaja scored the first century by an Australian batter in the current series against India to guide his team to 255 for four on the opening day of the fourth and final test. Khawaja’s unbeaten 104, which included 15 boundaries, helped Australia achieve their highest total in the series.
Khawaja built 50-plus partnerships with Travis Head, Steve Smith, and Cameron Green in favorable batting conditions to put Australia in a commanding position. Green was batting on 49 at the other end after putting on 85 runs with Khawaja.
After India took the second new ball, Australia scored at a run-a-ball rate in the last nine overs of the day. The Narendra Modi Stadium’s pitch in Ahmedabad finally provided some relief to the batters after three bowler-dominated tests, with spinners from both sides ruling the roost.
Khawaja and Head’s 61-run opening stand vindicated Smith’s decision to bat first, despite Head almost being dismissed for seven after a waist-high sitter was dropped by KS Bharat after he had edged Umesh Yadav.
Head continued to play his shots but failed to get his timing right against Ravichandran Ashwin and was caught at mid-on by Ravindra Jadeja after making 32. India tasted further success due to Marnus Labuschagne occasionally getting stuck in the crease, with the top-ranked test batsman making only three before dragging a Mohammed Shami delivery onto his stumps.
Khawaja was joined in the middle by Smith, who was leading Australia in the absence of regular skipper Pat Cummins. The Khawaja-Smith partnership denied India a breakthrough in the second segment of the day, with the session becoming the series’ first wicketless one.
However, Jadeja ended the 79-run partnership soon after the tea break when Smith, having made 38, presented an angled bat, deflecting the ball onto his stumps. Shami sent Peter Handscomb’s (17) off-stump cartwheeling, but Green and Khawaja scored freely.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese, were in attendance in the morning session.
India, who currently lead the series 2-1, need to win the match to join Australia in the final of the World Test Championship at The Oval in June.