Cow Corner

Khawaja gives Aussies reason to cheer

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On a gloomy Sydney day, Usman Khawaja gave Australia rare reason for cheer. Had the late afternoon rain fallen two minutes earlier he could have resumed his knock tomorrow rather than fall victim to his first false shot of the day.

He couldn't quite emulate David Gower, a classy left-hander from another era, by hitting his first Test ball for four, instead prodding through the legside for two, but second-ball he hooked Chris Tremlett superbly to the square leg boundary.

The headlines about him emulating the hundred scored twenty years ago on debut by Mark Waugh - a man who has championed Khawaja's cause - were in the heads of many onlookers when he top-edged a sweep of Graeme Swann to backward point.

As impressive as his stroke play was his temperament. Unphased by English deliveries or chat and incredibly calm when he arrived at the crease to an over-the-top ovation from the expectant, if wholly supportive, SCG crowd.

Although hard to judge with the amount of English in the crowd, Michael Clarke's arrival to the crease was greeted with far less positive support. The new captain's journey from polarising to downright unpopular was increased by his quick demise after the first lengthy rain interval when he cut Tim Bresnan straight to James Anderson in the gully.

Although Australia being 134/4 looks good for them it slightly flatters the England bowling. After a good first session which belatedly got the reward of the wicket of Phil Hughes before lunch they were then helped by three wickets which the Australian batsman gave away.

Soon after lunch came the third guarantee of modern-day Ashes cricket - along with Warne tweets and English batting feats - as Shane Watson was dismissed between 40 and 60. He had looked shaky from the first ball but after seeing out the first session, mistimed a drive edging Bresnan to slip.

Khawaja's fall left another scene to add to the Australian Groundhog Day remake as yet again Brad Haddin will come out to join Mike Hussey in an attempt to salvage an Australian innings when play resumes.

With rain likely to play as much a part over the next four days as Australia reminiscing about bygone days a draw is favourite unless Michael Beer can drown his country's sorrows or Swann's bowling again reaches the heights of his video diaries.

Shot of the day: It was a bad ball but Khawaja's pull for four off Chris Tremlett from his second delivery in Test cricket is likely to be the most replayed shot of this series. That is of course if he steers away from the Vinod Kambli and JP Duminy path to obscurity.

Man of the day: Again, 37 is no great feat but on a day of little cricket it will do to give the Islamabad left-hander today's award. It won't always be this easy, Usman.

Stat of the day: 13 - Michael Clarke's first innings average since moving above Mike Hussey to number four. Dean Jones was dropped for far less.

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