The former Australia coach Justin Langer suggested that wearing a ‘long-sleeve sweater’ might have led to Usman Khawaja’s downfall in the first innings of the World Test Championship Final against India at The Kia Oval.
Australia, favourites for the WTC final with cricket betting site Betway Satta, were put in to bat by India on day one of the World Test Championship final on a surface that looked like it would aid seamers. While their final score at stumps suggested otherwise, the pitch did offer enough assistance to the fast bowlers, especially early in the day, when Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj troubled the Australian top order in the first session.
Khawaja was dismissed for a duck in the fourth over of Australia’s innings. He hung his bat out to a length ball that was angled across by Siraj, only to get a faint tickle through to the wicketkeeper.
Langer, who was on air at that point, had a rather peculiar take on the dismissal. Khawaja had come out to bat wearing a long-sleeve jumper as the weather was cloudy and Langer felt that it might have played a role in his dismissal.
“He came out wearing a long-sleeve sweater. I felt if I had a long-sleeve sweater, especially early, you need to be sharp – I never felt right. And he came out wearing that long-sleeved sweater today and didn’t get going. He will be disappointed to be out in this first half an hour,” he said on air.
This was Khawaja’s 13th Test innings in England, and this duck was his fifth single-digit score. However, he has been in brilliant form of late and is Australia’s highest run-scorer in the 2021-23 World Test Championship cycle.
Given how Steve Smith and Travis Head were able to dominate the Indian attack later in the day after the top order survived the opening burst by Shami and Siraj, Khawaja would definitely be disappointed to miss out on a big occasion like this.