“Khawaja, welcome to the slope at Lord’s”, Twitter reacts as Josh Tongue dismisses Usman Khawaja with a peach

In a gripping display of cricket, Josh Tongue claimed the wicket of Usman Khawaja during the first day of the 2nd Ashes Test in 2023. The strategic brilliance of Tongue’s inswinging delivery, following a series of balls angling away from the left-handed Khawaja, proved too much for the batsman. Fooled into thinking the ball wouldn’t swing back, Khawaja left it, only to see his stumps rattled.

This significant breakthrough for England was exactly what they needed. With a ball perfectly lined close to the off-stump, Khawaja’s error in judgement left no option but for the ball to hit the stumps. The seam movement on that delivery was a stark reminder of the underutilization of conditions by the English bowlers.

Indeed, the day was set perfectly for England’s pacers. Winning the toss and choosing to bowl first on a grassy pitch under an overcast sky created an ideal scenario for the hosts. A few opportunities presented themselves, but unfortunately, England couldn’t capitalize.

Australia’s opening pair, David Warner and Khawaja, was given a reprieve with two dropped chances. Root had a difficult chance off Khawaja while Ollie Pope reacted late to a catchable edge off Warner’s bat. These missed opportunities allowed Australia to forge a solid start in challenging conditions.

Exhibiting patience and determination, Warner and Khawaja made England toil. Capitalizing on any width offered, they ensured a steady flow of runs. Warner, in particular, sought to exert pressure on Tongue upon his introduction into the attack.

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Ashes 2023: Josh Tongue dismisses Usman Khawaja with a peach

Although they got off to a strong start, Australia’s progress was halted with the loss of Khawaja, courtesy of a superb delivery from Tongue, in the final over before lunch. Despite this setback, Australia deserves credit for reaching 73/1 after losing the toss.

Nevertheless, with the likes of Stuart Broad, James Anderson, and now Tongue in action with the Dukes ball in their hands, Australia could not afford to relax. Their journey had only just begun, and the battle between bat and ball was set to intensify in the remaining sessions of the day.

Ultimately, the first session of Day 1 at the 2nd Ashes Test in 2023 was a microcosm of Test cricket’s inherent drama. It highlighted the ebb and flow between two world-class teams, the personal duels, the tactical nuances, and the importance of capitalizing on opportunities. The remainder of the Test promised to be an enthralling spectacle of cricket at its best.

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