Aus­tralia coach hails chem­istry of Finch-Khawaja

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

Aus­tralia coach Justin Langer has praised the new open­ing pair of Aaron Finch and Us­man Khawaja af­ter they gave Tim Paine’s re­build­ing side a solid plat­form in the drawn first test against Pak­istan in Dubai.

Finch and Khawaja, pro­moted up the or­der in the ab­sence of the sus­pended David Warner, put on a 142-run stand in the first in­nings and 87 in the sec­ond in a stel­lar de­but for their nascent part­ner­ship.

“One of the main build­ing blocks is a re­ally strong open­ing part­ner­ship,” Langer said in Dubai.

“So for the guys to get 140-run open­ing part­ner­ship and an 87run part­ner­ship... that’s huge for our team.

“When­ever you’re build­ing a team you’re al­ways look­ing for the open­ing part­ner­ship and they have cer­tainly both put their best foot for­ward and they’ve ob­vi­ously got a good chem­istry to have two great part­ner­ships.”

An­chored by a sparkling fourth-in­nings knock of 141 by Khawaja, Aus­tralia bat­ted 139.5 overs on a wear­ing pitch to save the game and will head to the sec­ond match in Abu Dhabi with op­ti­mism af­ter be­ing widely writ­ten off be­fore the se­ries.

While debu­tant Travis Head scored an im­por­tant 72 in the fourth in­nings and Paine steered the team to safety with an un­beaten 61, the form of the Marsh broth­ers and rookie all-rounder Mar­nus Labuschagne re­mains a con­cern.

Shaun and Mitchell Marsh man­aged a to­tal of 19 runs be­tween them in the test, and were both out for ducks as Aus­tralia scrapped for a draw in the fourth in­nings.

Labuschagne scored a to­tal of 13 runs for the match but chipped in with two handy wick­ets with his part-time legspin.

Open­ing bats­man Matt Ren­shaw was over­looked for Dubai due to a lack of match fit­ness but Langer said the Queens­lan­der could be re­called lower down the or­der.

“He’s a ter­rific young player, re­ally good in the group. I ad­mire the way he’s gone about it,” Langer said of the 22-year-old, who has av­er­aged 33.47 in his 11 tests.

“There’s plenty of fu­ture for Matt Ren­shaw. Whether it comes in open­ing or bat­ting num­ber three... it could come any­where.”

Langer was guarded about ro­tat­ing Aus­tralia’s fast bowlers for Abu Dhabi af­ter spear­head Mitchell Starc and Peter Sid­dle toiled for long hours in en­er­vat­ing heat as Pak­istan racked up 482 in the first in­nings.

Left-armer Starc has had a his­tory of bone stress in­juries, and Langer was mind­ful of the four-test se­ries to come against In­dia in the home sum­mer.

“We’ll man­age it. It’s the start of the sea­son and hope­fully we’ll man­age them well through­out the sum­mer and this tour so far,” he said.

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