Khawaja’s epic ton an­swers his crit­ics

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

AN emo­tional Us­man Khawaja has opened up about just how much his match- sav­ing hun­dred meant to him af­ter a decade of be­ing la­belled lazy by crit­ics.

Khawaja’s epic 141 off 302 balls span­ning nine hours against Pak­istan in the crush­ing Dubai heat, stands as the sec­ond long­est fourth in­nings knock in the his­tory of cricket and a per­for­mance that se­cured Aus­tralia one of the great­est Test match saves of all time.

Adding to the weight of Khawaja’s mo­men­tous achieve­ment was the fact his ab­ject strug­gles in Asian con­di­tions in the past could have very well cost him his Test ca­reer.

Khawaja’s wife Rachel broke down in tears when Khawaja brought up his ton and his own leap into the sky and dou­ble fist pump said it all about the per­sonal an­guish that in­spired him to one of the great­est hun­dreds ever scored by an Aus­tralian.

Un­der the pump to prove him­self in Aus­tralia’s bold new era, Khawaja has spent the past few months shed­ding 7kg and mak­ing a moun­tain of runs over­seas.

Ian Healy last year crit­i­cised Khawaja as “lazy”, a com­mon per­cep­tion that Khawaja hopes will now be put to bed for­ever fol­low­ing his hero­ics in Dubai.

“Yeah, there was def­i­nitely some­thing there I reckon,” said Khawaja about the point he had to prove in Asia.

“A lot of work goes into play­ing cricket at the high­est level. I’ve worked as hard as any­one. I’ve worked my back­side off for the last 10 years of first- class cricket, day in, day out.’’

Pak­istan cap­tain Sar­fraz Ahmed de­scribed it as one of the best in­nings ever in Test cricket. On a de­te­ri­o­rat­ing wicket Khawaja out­lasted one of the most dan­ger­ous day- five bowlers in the game, leg- spin­ner Yasir Shah pep­per­ing the rough.

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