Birmingham: Australian middle-order batter Travis Head feels left-handed opener Usman Khawaja getting his first Test century in England on day two of first Ashes Test here, has lifted a huge weight off his shoulders.
Saturday, Australia were struggling after losing David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, and Steve Smith in the first session. But Khawaja led the charge for Australia’s rebuilding with a superb 126 not out, while stitching important partnerships of 81 and 72 with Head and Cameron Green to take the side to 311/5 at stumps, trailing England by 82 runs.
“It’s a huge weight off his shoulders. As an international cricketer, everyone talks about hundreds overseas and he hasn’t had the greatest of times leading into this series. I know he is determined and once he got through the new ball, he played beautifully,” said Head, who made 50, to Sky Sports.
Khawaja will resume his innings on day three’s play from 126 not out, with Alex Carey set to begin from 52 not out, with the duo being in an unbroken 91-run stand for the sixth wicket. Head also believes Australia are right in the Test at Edgbaston, which has set the tone for the rest of the series.
“It has been challenging throughout and we knew that. It has been two brilliant days of cricket so far and has set the tone for what is going to be an amazing five or six weeks. We are right in it,” he said.
Meanwhile, former England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan hailed Khawaja and Carey for leading Australia’s fightback.
“I would rather be sitting in Australia’s changing room right now and the difference for me has been Carey. You always expect an Australian to grind out some runs on this wicket. That impetus late on in the day and leading momentum into when the new ball came in from Khawaja and Carey was outstanding,” said Morgan.
On the other hand, Nasser Hussain felt England were sloppy in the final session’s play on day two on a slow Edgbaston pitch.
“It is a slow, turgid pitch on which England had to work hard for everything. I thought Moeen bowled beautifully, but then I thought they were a bit sloppy in that last session,” Hussain said.
“Missed stumping, dropped catch, no-ball wicket. A lot of this team haven’t played a lot of cricket — it isn’t just a skill-based thing, it is a fitness thing. That came to the fore in the last session,” he added.