Khawaja showed Australia the way to decipher Asif mystery
wickets at an average of nine. That included 19 wickets (9 and 10) on a specifically prepared Old Trafford dust bowl.
When I played my one game for Lancashire at Old Trafford in 1963, I asked the humorous and refreshingly honest groundsman Bert Flack about that pitch; “Oooh ‘twere a bluddy bad un,” he replied with a chuckle. “Them’s at ‘eadquarters (Lord’s I assumed) told me t’ prepare a bleedin’ turner,” he continued with a grin, “and a bleedin’ turner ’t were.”
Not surprisingly, modern Australian teams are often greeted with “bleedin’ turner’s” but minus the humorous admission from local authorities. The pitch in Dubai however could only be classified as a mild turner; it was far from a spitting cobra and appeared to hibernate on the last day.
Usman Khawaja’s 141 forced a draw against Pakistan in the Dubai Test despite debutant offspinner Bilal Asif’s firstinnings haul.