Ashes 2019: Australia confident despite Headingley defeat, insists Khawaja

By Sports Desk August 28, 2019

Usman Khawaja insisted England's miraculous triumph in the third Test at Headingley has only fuelled Australia's desire to retain the Ashes.

Ben Stokes' inspired display kept the five-Test series alive as hosts England amassed their highest ever fourth-innings run chase in Leeds, where the hosts prevailed by one wicket last week.

Australia, however, will be able to welcome talisman Steve Smith back to the fold for the Old Trafford Test after the star batsman missed the Headingley clash due to a concussion sustained at Lord's.

Smith will play a three-day tour match against Derbyshire, with Khawaja captaining an Australia side which also includes Marcus Harris, Cameron Bancroft and Marnus Labuschagne.

Khawaja acknowledged Australia's defeat was a tough blow to take, but he has no doubt the tourists will bounce back before the end of the series, with one win from the two remaining Tests enough to retain the urn.

"Disappointing for us but hopefully it'll make the next game or the game after even more sweet when we do win," Khawaja said. "It was an excellent innings [from Stokes]. The way it ended, the drama, you couldn't write a script like that. It was heartbreaking for us as a team.

"It was a good game if you look at it from the eyes of a fan, what an amazing game.  I hope it's not too much of an epic [series]. The last game was clearly epic for England fans, and there have been great Ashes rivalries and games. 

"We played beautifully in the last game, we were so close to winning the Ashes, and if a few things go our way at the end then we would have done.

"We've played some really good cricket and we're confident we'll get that win."

With the fourth Test not starting until September 4, there is a 10-day gap between the matches, though Khawaja does not believe it will have been easier for Australia if the break was a shorter one. 

"It doesn't make much difference. We already had two Tests back-to-back so it was pretty tough," Khawaja said.

"It's nice to get a bit of a break, refresh and go for the next two. Test cricket's always hard work, always tough competition. There's a lot of depth with Australia's squad, and they all deserve to play which is a good thing."

Related items

  • India seal series whitewash of South Africa in one-sided third Test India seal series whitewash of South Africa in one-sided third Test

    India needed just 12 balls on the fourth day in Ranchi to wrap up a comprehensive victory by an innings and 202 runs in the Third test and a maiden series whitewash of South Africa.

    Shahbaz Nadeem removed Theunis de Bruyn and Lungi Ngidi with the final two balls of the second over to finish with four wickets on his debut and consign the Proteas to their heaviest loss to India, eclipsing the record set in the second Test in Pune.

    The tourists added a solitary run to their overnight score of 132-8 before De Bruyn, a concussion substitute for Dean Elgar, edged behind for 30.

    Ngidi failed to delay the inevitable, the tailender dismissed the following ball in a bizarre caught and bowled as his shot deflected off Anrich Nortje at the non-striker's end and presented Nadeem with a simple catch.

    South Africa had been forced to bat again on Monday after crumbling to 162 all out in response to India's 497-9 declared.

    India now have five wins from five in the World Test Championship and hold a commanding 180-point lead at the top of the table.

  • Hundred price for Gayle was too high - Shane Warne Hundred price for Gayle was too high - Shane Warne

    T20 batting legend Chris Gayle might have priced himself out of the inaugural Hundred Draft held on Sunday.

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: Semi-finalists England and South Africa climb in world rankings Rugby World Cup 2019: Semi-finalists England and South Africa climb in world rankings

    The Rugby World Cup semi-finals will feature the top four teams in world rugby after the rankings were updated following the quarter-finals.

    England and South Africa, courtesy of their convincing wins over Australia and hosts Japan respectively, both climbed one place.

    Eddie Jones' side moved above Wales into second, behind defending world champions New Zealand - who England face on Saturday - and the Springboks leapfrogged Ireland.

    Six Nations champions Wales beat France 20-19, though even a larger margin of victory would not have kept them from dropping down to third.

    Japan had risen to their highest ever ranking after Australia's defeat to England, but the Wallabies moved back into sixth after the Brave Blossoms' loss to South Africa.

    France are seventh, with Japan eighth, ahead of Scotland and Argentina, who complete the top 10.

    Despite their exit at the hands of South Africa, Japan have won over many fans at the World Cup, with coach Jamie Joseph believing his side are well on their way to becoming a top-five team.

    "The team has worked incredibly hard for three years, and this year we worked harder than we've worked ever before," Joseph told a news conference.

    "That's put us in a really good position to strive for our goals, which is making the top five in the world."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.