Khawaja misses chance to prove selectors wrong
Usman Khawaja of Chairman's XI bats during day one of the international tour match between the Chairman's XI and Sri Lanka at Manuka Oval. Photo: Getty Images
Usman Khawaja and Alex Doolan missed golden opportunities to feast on a modest Sri Lanka bowling attack on the opening day of the tour match in Canberra.
Khawaja fell for 56 and Doolan was bowled with the last ball before tea for six with the Chairman’s XI 3-193, NSW opener Scott Henry the star with an unbeaten 107 on a batsman-friendly Manuka Oval pitch.
Khawaja and Doolan were in contention for the vacant spot in the Australian batting order for next week’s Test match, which went to Phil Hughes.
After a slow start, Khawaja had a century for his taking until he was caught at short cover by Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene off fast bowler Chanka Welagedara.
Khawaja is captaining the Chairman’s XI, but will be replaced for the final day of the match on Saturday so he can line-up for the Sydney Thunder in its Big Bash League competition opener with the Sydney Sixers.
Khawaja took 57 balls to score his first 10 runs, but opened his shoulders in preparation for the Twenty20 format, smashing nine boundaries and clearing the rope twice.
Spinner Suraj Randiv bore the brunt of the assault, but hit back strongly to claim the crucial wicket of Doolan with the last ball before tea.
The tourists left out left-arm orthodox spinner Rangana Herath – the leading Test wicket-taker in the world this year with 55 – and paceman Nuwan Kulasekara, both who played in their country’s most recent Test against New Zealand.
Right-arm fast bowler Shaminda Eranga (1-15 off 10 overs) has been the most impressive of the quicks vying for a spot in the opening Test in Hobart next Friday.
He claimed the only wicket of the first session, enticing Western Australia’s Marcus Harris into an edge caught easily at backward point by TM Dilshan for 20.