Khawaja’s Ashes dream in strife as he falls cheaply for Australia A and Travis Head goes big at the Gabba
Usman Khawaja has been dismissed cheaply by the England Lions at Ian Healy Oval in Brisbane dealing a massive blow to his Ashes hopes for the rest of the series.
Usman Khawaja’s hopes of a Test recall suffered a blow on Thursday when he was dismissed for just 11 in Australia A’s clash against the England Lions at Brisbane’s Ian Healy Oval.
The low score, coupled with Travis Head’s same-day century for Australia across town in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba, won’t help Khawaja’s bid for a return to the Test arena for the first time since 2019.
Having strode to the crease with the score at 3-76 following the dismissal of Australia A captain Nic Maddinson for a duck, Khawaja started well, with his innings including a six off Lions off-spinner Dom Bess.
However, his innings ended soon after when he edged behind to wicket-keeper Ben Foakes off the bowling of paceman Matt Fisher.
The Australians, who chose to bat first after winning the toss, were dismissed for a disappointing 213 in the 71st over.
In reply, the Lions made a shocking start and were 3-13 from 11 overs when bad light stopped play at 5.22pm.
Pacemen Michael Neser, Scott Boland and Mark Steketee each took a wicket, with Lions skipper Alex Lees (1), his fellow opener Robert Yates (2) and number four batsman Tom Abell (5) all falling cheaply.
The Australians had made a much better start with the bat and at 1-76, seemed set for a score of at least 300.
However, too many batsmen failed to capitalise on good starts.
Tailender Steketee top-scored with a quickfire 39 off 33 balls.
Matt Renshaw (38), Mitch Marsh (33), Henry Hunt (33) and Bryce Street (26) would all have been disappointed to not reach at least 50.
“You never really felt in (on the pitch),” Renshaw said.
“It wasn’t coming through quite consistently. It was a bit two-paced.
“Hopefully we can come out (on Friday) and take a few more wickets and get a decent lead going into that second innings.”
Paceman Liam Newell was the best of the Lions’ bowlers, finishing with 5-58 from 16.5 overs.
He was ably supported by Bess, who took 4-80 from 23 overs.
At tea, the Australians were battling at 5-122, with T20 World Cup hero Marsh on 17 and wicket-keeper Josh Inglis on one.
Inglis fell early in the final session for six, caught and bowled by Newell.
The hard-hitting Marsh reached his 33 off 45 balls in a knock that included six boundaries before coming unstuck when Joshua Bohannon grabbed an opportunity at leg-slip off the bowling of Bess.
Marsh’s dismissal left the Australians teetering at 7-157 before Steketee’s late cameo lifted the hosts above 200.
“Until ‘Stekers’ at the end hit a few balls, we were struggling with our run rate,” Renshaw.
“It was one of those wickets where you couldn‘t really force the issue unless you played a few big shots.
“We’re pretty happy with where we’re at.”
The Australians went to lunch at 1-51 from 26 overs, with Queensland pair Street and Renshaw at the crease.
Street and South Australian Hunt made a slow start, taking more than three overs to score the first runs of the day.
Hunt was the more aggressive of the two openers, and seemed in total control despite surviving confident appeals for LBW and caught behind decisions.
However, he fell six minutes before the lunch break with the Australians’ total at 48, edging a Norwell delivery to first slip, where Yates snared a low catch.
Street fell in the second session when he cut Bess to Lees at backward point.
And 2-76 soon became 3-76 when Maddinson fell without scoring after being caught in the deep by Thomas Abell again off the bowling of Bess.