Usman Khawaja has made a cheeky quip to Aussie legend Adam Gilchrist about his new award, while Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc have copped backlash over comments about the day-night conditions. With 10 overs left in play against the West Indies on Thursday, broadcasters announced Khawaja had been named as the ICC Test Player of the Year having averaged over 50 runs across 2023.
Khawaja had won the ICC Test Championship and helped Australia retain the Ashes in the UK, which saw him recognised as the best Test player in the world. And Khawaja joined Pat Cummins, who won ICC Player of the Year, in taking home one of the prestigious awards from the governing body.
'CAN'T BE SERIOUS': Ricky Ponting stuns fans with commentary moment
'EMBARRASSING': Cricket fans shred bizarre detail in BBL final presentation
Following play, Gilchrist was handed the job of congratulating the opener and interviewing him over his achievement. However, he wouldn't have expected Khawaja quickly correcting him to claim he had known for a week that the award was heading his way.
"I am not sure if you have been made aware, but I am with Usman Khawaja, the newly crowned ICC Test Player of the Year," the former Aussie wicketkeeper said. Khawaja smiled and snuck in a reply: "I have known for a week". Fans couldn't help but laugh at the moment as Gilchrist brushed past it. While Khawaja was thrilled with the award, he had little to do on Thursday with the West Indies seeing out the day at 8-266.
Cracked it 🤣🤣🤣
— christie (@chrismsia) January 25, 2024
Nathan Lyon hits out Gabba pitch in day-night Test
The Australian bowlers had mixed results with Mitchell Starc once again showing why he loves bowling with the pink ball having taken four of the wickets. Nathan Lyon finally managed to snare the wicket of Da Silva lbw, before Starc came back into the attack to get Hodge caught by Smith at slip once again.
But bowlers Alzarri Joseph (32) and Kevin Sinclair (16 not out) managed to frustrate the Aussies even further with a handy partnership of 41, with Joseph landing some lusty blows against Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
And the frustration was obvious for the Aussie bowlers after day one, Lyon told ABC Radio he wasn't a fan of the playing a day-night Test at the Gabba due to the pitch. "This is just my opinion, I feel like the right venue for pink Tests is Adelaide Oval...this wicket, I think it'd be a brilliant red ball wicket," Lyon said.
Mitchell Starc hits out at pink ball Test conditions
Lyon wasn't the only one who commented on the ball and pitch. Starc admitted Adelaide appears to be the ideal location for the day-night conditions. "The ball is what it is; I think it comes down to the wicket, which I think Adelaide has got right," Starc said of the South Australian venue.
Starc reciprocated Lyons sentiment that the Gabba would serve as a better red ball wicket with the pink ball not acting as Australia have accustomed to in previous tests. Da Silva admitted he was surprised the ball remained rather subdued for the most part. "The pink ball does funny stuff," he said. "It may not have not done much today, but it does funny stuff at times. You never know what could happen."
While the Aussies bowlers were critical, fans have taken to day-night tests in huge numbers. And many felt the bowlers, including Lyon, may have been taking out their frustration for not bowling to their usual standards.
Is it just me, or do players always complain about pitches these days?
We had them 5/64, the wicket at the Gabba always flattens out after lunch and by end of day 1 is great to bat on.
8 wickets, 266 runs, I’d say that’s a great contest between bat and ball
— viewsfromthenosebleeds (@viewsfromtheno1) January 25, 2024
You looked pretty happy with it when they were 5-64
— paul 🚌 (@ImPaul23) January 25, 2024
Bad look. He might have a point, but smacks of whinging after things don't all go all your way.
— Cameron (@CameronGTait) January 25, 2024
Actually yesterday proved that 70-80% of test matches going forward (at least here) should be day nighters. The ‘swinging under lights’ thing just didn’t really happen, which is great.
— RD 🦈 (@Dawso26) January 25, 2024
While Starc may have not loved the conditions, Starc became just the fifth Australian to take 350 Test wickets on Thursday having ripped through the top order. Starc took three wickets in the first session, leaving the tourists reeling at 5-64.
Starc finished with 4-68 on the opening day at the Gabba after removing Justin Greaves (six) and Kavem Hodge (71). He ended the day's play on 352 career wickets, putting him on the cusp of passing Dennis Lillee (355) to move into fourth all-time among Australian bowlers. Shane Warne took 708 for his career, while Glenn McGrath snared 563 and Nathan Lyon had 513 at stumps (and counting).
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.