Usman Khawaja played what he called his toughest innings, a gritty and classy 141, to help Australia pull off a remarkable draw against Pakistan in the first of their two Tests.
Khawaja began the day unbeaten on 50, and batted on till well into the final session in the scorching Dubai heat, for close to nine hours, before being dismissed by Yasir Shah, but once captain Tim Paine patted back the last ball of the game, he was the hero, the toast of the Australian team.
“That was as tough as any innings as I’ve played. I was drenched. I came off the field with sweat through my shirt. My shirt was drenched and my pants were drenched. That took it out of me a fair bit. I’ve never had an innings like that,” said Khawaja, who had scored 85 in the first innings as well.
“I was just asking for god to get the sun down so we could get some shade. We got in the change rooms and felt good again after I got in there and then it got a bit cooler.
“I just love batting and I was just enjoying batting out there and enjoying getting a few partnerships with the boys and playing cricket for Australia. It’s what you dream to do.”
“I was just batting like it was any other innings. I wasn’t worried about whether it was the fourth innings or whether we were trying to save a match at any stage. It was more of a mindset thing to make sure we stayed positive,” said the Player of the Match.
“I knew that if I went away from batting normally, I was more likely to get out in those conditions. Especially being a left-hander, with Yasir Shah bowling into the rough, and Bilal (Asif) had some rough, too, I knew I had to bat as I would in any situation.”