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Khawaja leads resolute Australia fightback to leave first Test evenly poised


Another day, another interesting contest – and yet when both sides reflect on their proceedings, it looks like Australia will be the happier of the two.

There were moments when England threatened to take the advantage firmly away from the opposition but Australia remained resolute as they fought patiently to ensure they were in control.

At the heart of it all for Australia was Usman Khawaja, out on the field from the first ball to the last, the calm that his team needed when his more serious teammates failed to deliver.

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This was an innings of real status from Khawaja, the man dropped seven different times by Australia to convincingly prove all critics wrong, ball by ball studio. Eventually he had 126, his 15th Test century and England’s first, celebrated with such emotion that his bat literally flew from his hands.

Without him Australia could have been in real trouble, as they finished just 82 runs behind England, over 10 wickets off the second new ball and five wickets still in hand, a great platform to put some serious pressure on England on Day Three. .

If holding on to regrets and missing opportunities wasn’t so antithetical to the entire changing room ethos fostered by Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, you’d imagine England rumbling for a few minutes on day two at Edgbaston. Moments when they could turn this game decisively in their favour.

Things started so promisingly for England, first Stuart Broad removed David Warner, much to the delight of himself and most of the crowd, then Marnus Labuschagne got the first ball – the fact that the new outswinger ‘ which was a lot of talking he just had to do. it’s all sweet.

There would be no third Test hat-trick for Broad, but the ball would be over the top for Harry Brook – in total England used seven bowlers in the first session – determined to Bazball to their heart’s content all the way through this Test.

Brook did not get Steve Smith but his wicket fell in an unlikely way, Stokes caught LBW, which is not bad for a man who started bowling again on Tuesday of this week it seems.

If England really had a chance of taking on Australia with Smith gone at 67/3, then when Moeen Ali camped Travis Head into a horror chip to midwicket to reduce the tourists to 148/4 then there was a smell of blood from them.

Two balls later came when he at least looked to have made a big impact in this Test, Cameron Green skipping down the second track ball and getting nowhere near a single from Moeen, Jonny Bairstow fumbling the stumping opportunity to give Australia. let go

Moeen eventually got Green, but Australia clawed their way back to 220/5, eased by the ever-present Khawaja easing the pressure on their side.

With the second new ball came the second of England’s missed opportunities, Khawaja bowled the second delivery that was sent down, an absolute beauty that had the crowd roaring and dreaming of a skittled Australian tail with a healthy English lead.

It was a dream that died all too quickly for England fans, Broad was outstanding, Khawaja got back, and with stumps he and Alex Carey had steered Australia to 311/5, the three-figure deficit , the hosts looking perhaps a little short of ideas. .

Although Sunday is a new day, England – currently lacking in self-belief – will have seen just two wickets from Nathan Lyon at the tournament and with a refreshed bowling attack and a relatively new ball they will be looking to to get their chances. batting again with a helpful if not terrifying lead.

Australia, however, showed that they are a batting side not entirely dependent on Steve Smith, a team willing to fight through tough times and meet England’s fire and funk with good old fashioned humor and determination – Justin Langer would be proud if not he is still bitter about it. his out from the side.

It makes the competition very exciting again, this second album was not difficult in a day, instead it was a continuation of yesterday’s opening that makes everyone feverishly expect the next one.

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