England ready for Khawaja


Strike bowler James Anderson insisted Friday that England could nullify the threat of Australian Test debutant Usman Khawaja as they seek to wrap up a series win in Sydney.
Pakistan-born Khawaja, 24, is set to make his Test bow for his adopted country as injured skipper Ricky Ponting’s replacement in the Sydney Test, starting on Monday. Anderson, England’s leading wicket-taker with 17 scalps, believes that with a little extra information, the tourists’ attack will be able to snuff out the threat from the technically gifted Khawaja. “It will be slightly new. We’ve played against him and had a bit of experience against him,” Anderson told reporters. “The guys have had a bit of a taste of what he’s about, what his strengths are.” Khawaja, top-scorer in this season’s domestic Sheffield Shield competition, went cheaply for 13 and a duck playing for Australia A against the tourists in Hobart.
“Hopefully, with a bit more background knowledge from a couple of the local guys like (England’s Australian bowling coach) David Saker, that might help us even more,” Anderson said.
Anderson said despite criticism of Ponting’s leadership and poor batting form, the skipper’s absence would be a “huge loss” for Australia in the Sydney Test. He said that while Ponting was in a slump, he remained an integral part of the Australian side. Anderson said that England were focused on ending their 24-year series drought in Australia rather than just retaining the Ashes.
“When I was growing up as a kid watching us come over here and struggle, then being involved in 2006-7, that was really tough,” he said. “So all of us want to go home with a winning series, not just retaining the Ashes. We’re not going to settle for that now.”