Usman Khawaja celebrated a dream comeback to the Australian Test side as the left-handed batter scored a ton to help the hosts gain a formidable position on Day 2 of the ongoing Ashes Test in Sydney.
Riding on his efforts, Australia piled 416/8 on the board before declaring the first innings, after which England reached 13/0 at stumps on Day 2.
Khawaja is playing his first Test in over two and a half years and this was the ninth time the experienced batter reached the three-digit-mark in the longer format of the game. He was dismissed by Stuart Broad on 137 off 260 deliveries.
Khawaja’s century celebration were led by his wife Rachel from the stands, who lifted their daughter in excitement as soon as the batter reached the three-figure-mark. The video of the celebration received immense love online as fans and ex-cricketers appreciated the support with their kind reactions.
Soon after the century, Rachel in a candid chat with Fox Cricket said the cricketer was initially nervous but felt a change in his attitude after the final net session a day before.
“He was definitely a bit nervous leading into the game for sure, more than I expected. But I think once he had that final net session the day before he felt a bit better.”
“Last night he surprised me with how calm he was. He had a good night’s sleep and he woke up this morning and seemed pretty chilled. He is a pretty chilled person, but I thought he was a lot calmer than I thought he would be,” said Rachel.
Speaking on Khawaja’s selection in the playing XI, Rachel said: “I think we both just thought it was unexpected. He has been out of the team for two years.”
She added: “Our life has really changed. We have got a kid and another one on the way. It has been more about family. And he has just been playing cricket and loving it playing for Queensland. Life has really changed for us and it really puts things in perspective.”
Rachel also shared how she dreamt about the cricketer getting a chance to feature in one more Test for Australia so that their daughter could watch him bat.
“It means so much. I just wanted him to play one more Test at home so she could be there,” said Rachel.
“I just wanted to tick that off the list. Then to have it end up like this is just incredible. Not just for us, but for Uzzie’s parents who unfortunately couldn’t be here today, who are sitting at home with his brother and nephew.”
“They are all going to be so proud and excited for him. It is pretty incredible. I cannot wait to see him tonight. It’s amazing” she added.
Apart from Khawaja, England seamer Stuart Broad completed a five-wicket-haul and finished with figures reading 5-101.
Australia have already won the ongoing Ashes and are currently leading 3-0 in the five-match series.