‘He has proved me wrong’ – Jason Gillespie thought Australia Ashes star Usman Khawaja was ‘done’

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Khawaja scored a century to rescue Australia at Edgbaston
Usman Khawaja scored a century to rescue Australia at Edgbaston (Picture: Getty)

Jason Gillespie admits he thought Australia opener Usman Khawaja was ‘done’ at the top level but has been ‘delighted’ by his resurgence after he made an Ashes century at Edgbaston.

Khawaja’s unbeaten 126 rescued Australia on day two of the first Ashes Test as the tourists recovered from 29-2 to reach 311-5 at stumps.

While England batted with aggression on day one – declaring after making 393-8 in 78 overs – Khawaja just as effectively ground the hosts down with a classy and patient hundred, his first in this country and 15th overall.

Somewhat surprisingly, Khawaja has outperformed all of his Australia team-mates since being recalled in the last Ashes series and Gillespie admits there was a time he thought the left-hander’s international career was over.

The ex-Australia bowler told the Daily Mail: ‘A couple of years ago, I saw Usman Khawaja play for Queensland in a Sheffield Shield game when I was coaching South Australia.

‘I remember saying: “I think he’s past it. I don’t think there’s much left.” I felt he was a bit slow and he was battling. I thought his time was nearly done.

‘Well, he has certainly proved me wrong and I am delighted to admit it. You love it when players show they still have more to give.

Jason Gillespie thought Usman Khawaja was 'done' at the top level
Jason Gillespie thought Khawaja was ‘done’ at the top level (Picture: Getty)

‘In the build-up to these Ashes, Usman was probably talked about less than any other Australia batsman. Perhaps that was because of his Ashes record in England, having averaged 19.66 with a top score of 54.

‘But since the start of 2022, he has scored more Test runs than any player in the world. He has showed that he’s a very, very fine player. He will now go down as an all-time great for Australia, which is a wonderful achievement.

‘What I love about Usman is his resilience, which he showed once again at Edgbaston on Saturday.

‘It was an outstanding knock against some very good bowling. His strike-rate was well below England’s batsmen but he just played his own game. His job is just to bat.

‘He has got a very simple game. He left really well and jumped on anything short with great pull shots. I also loved his intent against Moeen Ali. He really took him on down the ground.’

Khawaja found valuable support from Australia’s dangerous middle-order as Travis Head made 50, Cameron Green scored 38 and Alex Carey finished the day unbeaten on 52.

Khawaja and Alex Carey frustrated England in the evening session
Khawaja and Alex Carey frustrated England in the evening session (Picture: Getty)

Australia will be confident of taking a first-innings lead on day three as they trail by 82 with five wickets left but Stuart Broad insists England are in a ‘really positive place’.

‘We had a really good day,’ he said after dismissing Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith in successive balls. ‘The game is nicely poised.

‘We are 82 runs ahead, one or two wickets away from the tail. It has been a hard gruelling day on a pitch that offered very little but being in this position is a really positive place to be I think.’


MORE : Michael Vaughan ‘concerned’ for England bowler as Australia fight back in Ashes


MORE : Kevin Pietersen disagrees with England’s record-breaking Ashes declaration

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