A crucial error from Stuart Broad may have let Australia off the hook in their first innings, as Usman Khawaja kept the visitors in touch his breakthrough Ashes century. Looking in all sorts after Broad removed both David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne in consecutive balls during the first session, it was Khawaja who held fast, helping Australia to 3/311 by the end of day two.
Fifties from Travis Head and the yet unbeaten Alex Carey kept the visitors' hopes of a first innings lead alive, but England were left to rue an incredibly costly mistake from Broad that let Khawaja off the hook. Having given England no chances to remove him throughout his impressive century knock, Khawaja was eventually clean bowled by Broad while on 112.
Elation at Edgbaston soon turned to frustration however, as umpire Marais Erasmus called the Aussie opener back as replays showed Broad had overstepped his mark. Courtesy of the no-ball, Khawaja batted out the rest of the day to finish on 126 at stumps, accompanied by Carey on 52, having reduced England's lead to just 82 runs.
Broad couldn't believe it, England fans couldn't believe it, but it was reality as skipper Ben Stokes' bold first innings declaration late on day one looked as though it wasn't going to pay off. It was a far cry from the jubilation of the rowdy crowd earlier in the day after Warner and Labuschagne were removed in short order.
Precariously placed at 3/67 at one point after Stoked got Steve Smith out LBW, to the former skipper's disbelief, Australia knuckled down to resurrect their hopes of a first Test victory. Meanwhile, English fans were in sheer disbelief after Broad's brutal mistake opened the door for the visitors.
Broad wasn't alone in making key errors, with a missed stumping chance on Cameron Green allowing the all-rounder to add 38 before his eventual dismissal, while Carey was dropped on 26. What began as a dominant day for the home side had evaporated into a decidedly weaker position by stumps.
Claiming that someone wudda been out if it hadn’t been a no ball is completely spurious, imho. If the bowler had released the ball legitimately, length wud’ve been different, as wud timing, & hey, you’ll have no way of knowing if that wud’ve been a wicket taking delivery. #mashes
— Isabelle Westbury (@izzywestbury) June 17, 2023
Super fightback from Khawaja and Carey, as Australia close on 311 for 5 in reply to 393. England will know it could be very different. Green should have been stumped on 0, and Carey caught on 26. Then Khawaja was bowled by a Broad no-ball on 112. But them's the rubs. Great game!
— Lawrence Booth (@BoothCricket) June 17, 2023
The no-ball drama continues this English summer!
Broad cleans up Khawaja after taking the new ball, but oversteps!
Edgbaston is in disbelief.
— Behram Qazi 🇵🇰 🇨🇦 (@DeafMango) June 17, 2023
— Sam Wilson (@bogues2zoners) June 17, 2023
Stuart Broad interviewed: 'I'm not a big no-ball bowler. I probably bowled more today than I have in a test match before.' No, Stuart, it's just they've only just started automatically calling them all.
— em (@civetta) June 17, 2023
Stuart Broad talking rubbish. It's where your foot lands Stuart, not where it slides to #bbccricket
— peter (@peterha23351026) June 17, 2023
Usman Khawaja's long-awaited England breakthrough proves decisive
The day belonged to Khawaja but Broad will have undeniably made an impact on the Aussie side, having taken Warner's wicket an incredible 15 times in Test cricket now. Broad memorably had Warner's measure during the 2019 Ashes series in England, removing the Aussie opener no less than seven times in the one series.
Pressure will be on Labuschagne to make good in the second innings, after Broad had him caught behind pushing at a delivery well outside off stump that was edged and taken by keeper Jonny Bairstow. Smith was left in disbelief after being given out on the field, unsuccessfully reviewing the call to be left furious at the result.
Still, nothing could be taken away from Khawaja after finally breaking through for his first Ashes century. He erupted after bringing up his ton with a boundary, saying at the end of the day he wasn't actually quite sure what had prompted the outpouring of emotion.
“It was the culmination of three Ashes tours in England and getting dropped in two of them," Khawaja said after some consideration. “I don’t read the media but when I’m being sprayed (barracked) by the crowd out there, and as I’m going to the nets, that I can’t score runs in England, I guess it was a bit more emotional than normal.
“Not that I have a point to prove but it’s nice to go out and score runs for Australia and show to everyone that the last ten years hasn’t been a fluke.”
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