Stuart Broad took five wickets for England, but Usman Khawaja shines

Stuart Broad turned his sense of injustice for a five-wicket haul in the Ashes when called back in Sydney, but it was an Aussie to prove who claimed the spotlight on the second day of the fourth Test.

sman Khawaja has waited nearly two-and-a-half years to earn a recall at Baggy Green, and only got one thanks to Travis Head’s Covid-19 diagnosis, but he marked his SCG homecoming with an impressive 137 as the hosts scored a Controlled with the score. Out of 416 of the eight declared.

Broad’s return of five for 101 for England was a glimmer of positivity on another grueling day Down Under and a sad one. The 35-year-old has made it clear that he felt sad to be left in both Brisbane and Melbourne while the series was still alive and, as he often does, matched the word with the act.

Without his ability to create chances – he had few close calls in addition to his regular successes – England would have been staring at an even more grim picture. Broad has taken 125 Test wickets against Australia, and has taken five or more wickets on eight occasions, and history can well judge that he was unfairly sidelined when the urn was on the line.

Jack Crowley, who had faced 20 minutes before stump, thought he had secured a duck, but a rare stroke of luck intervened as replays showed Mitchell Starc overstepped for a no-ball. . He and Haseeb Hameed would resume 13 without loss on the third morning, with a tough innings.

Tourists’ job will only get harder when the worst fears about Ben Stokes’ fitness are realized. He pulled off the middle over with a tight side and was unable to bowl in the last two seasons, raising concerns that he would only be at low capacity for the rest of the journey.

England took two wickets late on the first evening and, perhaps for the first time in the entire tour, came to the ground realizing they could be ahead of the game and restrict the score to 126 for three.


Australia’s Steve Smith plays a shot as England’s Jos Buttler looks on (Jason O’Brien/PA)

Instead, the first session was a stagnant affair with three separate rain breaks and a distinct lack of rhythm. Khawaja put Steve Smith in the back seat at the start, taking his junior’s share of 33 off 83 before lunch, giving him an early taste of the skill that later took him to his ninth Test century.

When Mark Wood tried a short ball he swung his wrist over the textbook bridge and his ability to negate Jack Leach closed the spinner’s options.

So, it was a surprise when Leach took his outside edge at 28. It would have been an important win for the left-hander but neither Jos Buttler nor Joe Root could take the catch. Butler wasn’t fast enough to get him into the gloves, but his thigh parry pulled the ball up enough to easily grab his slip. Root, perhaps distracted by Ricochet, squandered a gentle chance.

If England had known how much that moment would cost them, their apparent despair would certainly have turned into real anguish. Things were heading in that direction in the next over anyway, when a terrific short-pitched bowling innings from Stokes caught his side with him as he walked off the field for treatment.


England’s Ben Stokes has been taken off the field with an injury (Jason O’Brien/PA)

At 209 for three, England were banking on the second new ball to boost their enthusiasm, but even getting there was costly as 12 soft runs were scored in the last two overs of the old one.

It fell to Broad to seize the moment and he bound with Smith (67) putting up the best of a good fight. Broad conceded a couple of boundaries as he went into the attack, but his man nearly lbw after a bizarre break.

Smith waved the bat when Broad jumped through Butler’s gloves and threw one up into the channel. Cameron Green was eagerly swayed with the bat in this series, and Broad quickly caught Crowley at third slip.

After scoring 242 for five and buoyed by Broad, England had a chance. But Khwaja took it from him by adopting the role of the leading man. After crossing 50, he started his shots better and hit the ball hard.

He was too good for Leach and the consistent quality of his swivel pull was grinding to the seamer’s morale. Root’s off-break did it for Alex Carey as Jonny Bairstow took a tough over-the-shoulder catch but could not stop Khawaja. For a moment it looked like Pat Cummins would steal skipper Khawaja’s 99-run strike and leave him just three balls to get over the line before tea.


Australia’s Usman Khawaja celebrates his century (Jason O’Brien/PA)

In the end all he needed was one, before celebrating with the entire stadium shutting down Leach from his pad, which he called home.

The rest of the innings was disappointing for England, as Australia posted 95 runs in 23 overs after tea, with the only ray of light coming when Broad’s leg-cutter finally did it for Khawaja and sealed their five-for.

Even the timing of the announcement carried an air of dominance, with Taylor coming soon after Nathan Lyon swiped Broad into the stands for six.