Ashes 5th Test: Australian Batter Usman Khawaja questions controversial ball change after Ricky Ponting demands investigation
In the fifth and final game of the 2023 Ashes series, England's contentious moment that turned the tide for the home team and resulted to their 49-run series-leveling victory has been questioned, according to former Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
Usman Khawaja, the first player for Australia, later spoke out about the incident, calling it a "disappointing" move that caused the tourists to lose momentum quickly before falling from a position for Australia to win their first away series since 2001.
Khawaja and David Warner were able to withstand the new-ball burst and sew their first-ever century stand in the series because to the England pacer bowlers' struggles against the Australia openers due to the Dukes' lack of swing, forcing England to consider alternate strategies.
Khawaja received a hard blow to his helmet at the end of Day 4 from a deadly delivery from Mark Wood, which forced the on-field umpires to alter the ball since it was damaged. But the Australian camp had some reservations after receiving a couple more deliveries from Wood.
The rain forced Day 4 to end early, but the tourists managed to hold their own against what appeared to be a brand-new ball. England reaped the benefits early on Day 5. As soon as Warner and Khawaja were eliminated, England regained momentum.
The biggest worry I have, according to Ponting, who was furious after the decision, is the significant difference in the condition of the ball that was selected. There is just no way in the universe that you could even consider comparing the two balls.
“That is a crucial moment in this game and could be a crucial moment in the Test match, and I believe it has to be looked into. This morning's bowling conditions were ideal due to the perfect storm.
In the end, Australia was defeated by 49 runs, with Chris Woakes shining with his four-wicket haul. After the game, Khawaja told Channel 9 that England's behaviour was "disappointing" and that he had even voiced his concerns to the on-field umpire Kumar Dharmasena and warned other players in the dressing room about the ball.
“I immediately recognised that ball as being really different when they changed it, Khawaja remarked. I approached the umpire and enquired, "How old is this ball? It appears to be eight years old. The inscription was visible on both sides, and it struck my bat really hard.
In the entire Ashes series, I have opened the batting, and I have never felt a ball hit my bat with such force. Be careful, this new ball is going to be tricky, I warned the boys as they entered.
“There are some aspects in this game that you can't manage, which is disheartening for us because we thought we had a firm grip on that game. At 90 overs, the ball was still hooping around corners and being taken above the keeper's head. You feel a lot of pain. If you offer England's elite bowling attack even a small opening, they will always make the most of it.