Usman Khawaja couldn’t remember when was the last time he smiled so much after scoring a Test century. But at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Thursday late afternoon, the Australian batter did have a broad smile on his face as he braved the sweltering conditions to bring up his 14th Test ton.
Amid loud cheers from the spectators, Khawaja had a low-key celebration as he just raised his bat in the air and hugged Cameron Green. But by his own admission, the emotions were flying high.
Emotion in it
“I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much on getting a century. There was emotion in it, I’ve done two tours of India before, carried the drinks for eight Test matches before I got a chance here,” Khawaja said.
Khawaja remembered those days when he was told that he could not play spin. “Throughout the middle of my career I got told I couldn’t play spin and that’s why I never got an opportunity to play in India. Khawaja had previously toured India in 2013 and 2017, but did not feature in the playing eleven.
“I got an opportunity to play in a white-ball series a few years ago and was Man-of-the-Series, got an opportunity here again with the red ball. It’s just nice to go out there and tick off a hundred in India which was something if you told me five years ago I’d think you were crazy,” he said with a smile.
“The heat is fine. If you ask the boys, I’m very good in the heat but very bad in the cold. You never see a man wear more vests in a cricket game than me,” he laughed.
“Out there I thought it was alright, the wicket was a lot better, the conditions were a lot nicer than the first few games. It was just a nicer batting wicket, it wasn’t spinning much, the stumps felt in play and we have come from three-day games in the first Tests so there was a little bit of a change of tack,” he said. “I felt like I could bat normally, hence why I just batted and didn’t take too many risks.”
And when he walks out to bat on Friday, Khawaja will be man on a mission.