Khawaja’s epic knock
‘I have worked my backside off for this’
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 achievement was the fact his struggles in Asian conditions in the past could have very well cost him his Test career.
Wife Rachel was 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 criti- cised Khawaja as “lazy”, a common perception that Khawaja hopes will now be put to bed 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.’
“People think because of my relaxed nature that’s not the case. That I’ve been gifted to be able to get to where I am.
“But it’s not the case at all. I’ve worked my absolute backside off for the last 10 years and really worked as hard as I can in different conditions like this and in England.
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.
BIG MOMENT: Usman Khawaja celebrates scoring a century on the final day of Australia’s first Test against Pakistan in Dubai.