Khawaja makes confident debut for Australia


Debutant Usman Khawaja made a confident start to his Test career as Australia got away to a good start in the fifth Ashes Test against England at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday.

Pakistan-born Khawaja, 24, the first Muslim to play Test cricket for his adopted country, dealt with everything the England bowlers could throw at him to remain unbeaten on 26 when rain forced an early tea.

At the interval, Australia were 111 for two with acting captain Michael Clarke, standing in for injured Ricky Ponting, on four.

Khawaja confidently hit a two and a boundary off his first two balls in Tests and looked secure with his parents nervously watching on from the stands.

The Australians looked assured in their batting 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 in the last over before lunch when he 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 before his error with just three balls left in the session.

Watson played forward to a Tim Bresnan outswinger and edged to Andrew Strauss at first slip.

Watson toiled for three hours for his 45 and could be heard to exclaim “Oh No” as Strauss took the catch.

Australia were looking to restore confidence after their crushing innings defeat in the fourth Melbourne Test that meant England retained the Ashes.

England need to win or draw the fifth Test to become the first England team in 24 years to claim a series victory in Australia.

England outplayed Australia in heavy defeats in Adelaide and Melbourne to lead the series 2-1 while Australia won the third Perth Test and the first Brisbane Test was drawn.

England were the last team to beat Australia at the SCG in 2003 when Andy Caddick claimed 7-94 after Michael Vaughan had amassed 183 in the second innings to pull off a massive 225-run triumph.

England have a good record in Sydney, winning 21 times in 53 Tests.