Usman Khawaja has been cleared of a broken jaw after a trip to hospital for scans, but will be monitored for signs of concussion with his role in the second Test in doubt. Khawaja was forced to retire hurt just one run from victory in the first Test between Australia and the West Indies in Adelaide on Friday.
With Australia needing just 26 in the second innings to win, they had moved to 0-25 when Khawaja was struck by a nasty bouncer from Shamar Joseph. Khawaja appeared to duck into the delivery from the Test debutant Joseph and was struck on the jaw after the ball appeared to glance off his shoulder and miss his grill. He immediately took off his helmet and appeared to be spitting blood, before receiving treatment from trainers.
“That’s got him hard,” Brett Lee said on Fox Cricket. “There’s a bit of claret. That was an outstanding bouncer. Hopefully he’s OK, Usman Khawaja.
“It’s cut him. I reckon it might have split his chin. That’s got him flush. There’s every chance that could do some serious damage to his jaw. That’s nasty. He was one run from celebrating with the Australians and he might need to go for a scan now. Very unfortunate.”
Khawaja felt at his jaw a number of times as he left the ground, with Marnus Labuschagne coming on to replace him. It took Labuschagne just two balls to notch the winning run as Australia won by 10 wickets.
Cricket Australia officials reported that Khawaja had passed a concussion test, but would head to hospital to assess for any fractures in his jaw. Khawaja was later cleared of a broken jaw, but will be monitored for concussion in the following days.
He will be tested for concussion again in 24 hours, and if he doesn't pass would be ruled out of the second Test starting on January 25 in Brisbane. Matt Renshaw looms as his likely replacement.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 19, 2024
The Khawaja incident came after curator Damian Hough admitted before play that he wasn't happy with the pitch he'd prepared. The match was over before lunch on day three - the shortest Test at the Adelaide Oval ever - with the pitch offering plenty of assistance for the quick bowlers.
“Unfortunately, we’re happy with certain things of it, but there’s certain parts like the consistency or the ball dying through to the keeper early that we are probably not as happy with,” Hough said on Fox Cricket. “I’ll put my hand up and say we probably haven’t got it quite perfect.”
West Indies under fire over Shamar Joseph new ball snub
Steve Smith was 11 not out in the second innings after making just 12 in the first dig in his first Test as an opening batter. Inexplicably, he didn't have to face Joseph with the new ball despite the 24-year-old dismissing him with his first ball in Test cricket in the first innings.
Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph were handed the new ball instead, despite Shamar Joseph snaring five wickets in the first innings. Fans and commentators were left gobsmacked that Shamar wasn't given another crack at Smith with a brand new ball, and he only got in 1.4 overs before Australia reached the victory target.
— Scott Bailey (@ScottBaileyAAP) January 19, 2024
Trent Copeland labelled the decision "baffling" and "ridiculous" on Channel 7, and fellow commentators were also incredulous. "I'm surprised it's taken until now to see this man with a ball in his hand," Copeland said when Shamar was eventually brought on. "It was an opportunity, in my opinion, for growth, for a young player that you don't often get within a Test Match environment.
"The fact he didn't bowl with a brand new ball - baffling to me. And one of the main reasons, as Katto (Simon Katich) was just talking about, was that, first ball to Steve Smith in Test cricket, he dismisses him, and then the rest of the first over, really was right around the top of off-stump, good pace. Such an impressive character as well. Takes five-fer on debut. In my opinion, had to bowl with the brand new ball."
It sparked memories of Pakistan's decision not to use Aamir Jamal with the new ball in the third Test against Australia earlier this month, despite him taking six wickets in the first innings and the tourists only defending 130. Sajid Khan, Mir Hamza, Hasan Ali and Salman Ali Agha were all used before Aamir, who only got 3.5 overs in the second dig.
I felt bad for Pakistan and West Indies this tour until they didn’t open their bowling when Australia were chasing small totals to win with Aamer Jamal and Shamar Joseph 😑
— Picasstonian (@hf2_0_2_) January 19, 2024
The West Indies resumed at 6-73 on Friday, and managed to fight their way to 120 all out. Josh Hazlewood took 5-35 after 4-44 in the first innings and was cruelly denied his first 10-wicket match in Test cricket. Travis Head was named man of the match after his swashbuckling knock of 119 off 134 balls in the first innings.
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