Khawaja fires back at 'bizarre' criticism

Dec 30, 2017 - 12:12 AM Usman Khawaja has dismissed criticism of his Ashes batting form as 'bizarre' and defended the legitimacy of a diving catch that left him with a mouthful of MCG turf.

Khawaja is among Australia's most dangerous batsmen at home, having scored almost 1100 runs at 77.5 over the past two summers.

But he has largely failed to cash in during the Ashes, posting just 162 runs at 27 from the first four Tests.

He was twice beaten by reverse-swing on a flat MCG wicket during the fourth Test, nicking to Stuart Broad in the first innings and Jimmy Anderson in the second.

Former Test wicketkeeper Ian Healy said Khawaja "looked a bit lazy" during the first dig, where he scored 17 from 65 balls.

Khawaja on Saturday laughed off suggestions he was out of form, noting that he had made fifties in Adelaide and Perth.

"It's a bit bizarre to me," he told ABC Grandstand.

"It's Test match cricket - sometimes you're not going to score at a free-flowing rate. It doesn't mean my intent wasn't there.

"I did find it a bit interesting though, day one on a slow wicket, that I was getting criticised but that's Test cricket."

Khawaja is certain to face further scrutiny if he can't produce a big score in the fifth Test in Sydney.

Australia will play four Tests in South Africa starting in March with Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb and Joe Burns among the batsmen waiting in the wings.

Khawaja wouldn't be drawn on his chances of selection but shed some light on his scrambling catch to dismiss Stuart Broad on day three.

Broad was given out in a decision upheld by the third umpire, although it was unclear from replays whether the ball scraped the turf after bobbling out of Khawaja's hands.

"My face was about a foot into the dirt of the MCG," Khawaja joked.

"I don't think I've ever purposely cheated in cricket before or tried to (falsely claim) a catch. I'm pretty strong on that sort of thing."

Source: AAP

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