Usman Khawaja revealed he went into the final day with the same batting approach as his century helped Australia salvage a thrilling draw in the first Test against Pakistan.
The tourists started the day at 136-3 but Khawaja, 31, was in fine form at Dubai International Cricket Stadium as he struck his seventh Test century. His 141 runs came off 302 deliveries and although he was dismissed by Yasir Shah, the Australians grinded out a deserved draw.
It was Khawaja’s first ton in Asia and the batsman said he would not have been able to get triple figures if he changed his approach at the crease.
“I was batting like any other innings,” he said. “I wasn’t worried whether it was the fourth innings or saving the match. I just wanted to bat because I knew if I went away from batting normally then I was more likely get out to those conditions. Being a left-hander, Yasir Shah was bowling to my right and it was tough, so I just knew I had to play in any normal situation. For me, the best way is to score runs and stay here. We were pretty positive throughout and it was more of a mindset thing and staying positive as these conditions are tough.”
It was Australia’s first Test since the sandpaper scandal that saw Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and David Warner suspended. And skipper Tim Paine praised his players for how they pulled off the draw.
“I’m just really proud with the whole group on how they stuck to their plans and kept digging in for what was a great Test innings,” said Paine.
“We always want to play good cricket and we spoke pre-season about showing real patience and it’s one thing to talk about it, but a different matter to do it on the pitch. Full credit to the players as we never lost hope. There were times where we thought it was part of a dream but we dug in.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed described Khawaja’s innings ‘as one of the best he’s seen in the fourth innings’.
“The way he batted and he played a big role in helping them draw the game. Credit goes to him and played good shots and he played really well,” he said.
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