India vs Australia: Langer & Ponting Marvel at Khawaja’s Stunner to Dismiss Kohli
Australia coach Justin Langer heaped praise on Usman Khawaja’s blinder of a catch that got rid of Virat Kohli on Day 1 of the first Test at Adelaide, calling it one of the favourite moments in his career.
“It was actually one of my favourite moments ever in my Test career, I reckon, for so many reasons,” Langer told cricket.com.au in a Facebook Live session that took place before play on day two of the first Test.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 6, 2018
“It’s the start of the Test series, it’s Kohli, a great start for us, and with everything that’s been going on with Uz."
“And also, the most important thing for me, I won’t forget just after I was appointed (coach), I was sitting in the driveway in my house, talking to Uzzy about getting himself nice and fit so he could run hard between the wickets and field better.
“So when I see him take a catch like that, I was over the moon – for him and for the team.”
This praise comes after former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting spoke glowingly about the effort, saying that what made it even better was that the catch got rid of the dangerous Kohli.
Stationed at gully, Khawaja had to dive to his unnatural left side after Kohli edged Pat Cummins' full-length delivery while going for the big drive. Khawaja managed to stick out his left hand at the right time and completed an absolute stunner.
Khawaja, an avid basketball fan, had earlier revealed about how LeBron James inspired him to lose some weight and be fitter. Ponting was Australia's captain when Khawaja was first called into the Test squad in 2010 and he feels the Queenslander has made a lot of improvement in the fielding department, which wasn't quite his forte when he first burst into the scene.
"He's improved his fielding out of sight. I'm on record as saying that when he first came into the side years ago, it was almost an aspect of his game that he hadn't worked on much," said Ponting.
"He'd obviously always been a gun batsman as a junior and probably never focused as much on his fielding as he needed to … that's certainly the way it looked. You can see now he's a bit trimmer, he's lost a bit of weight, he's obviously more focused on his fitness and his fielding than ever before. And I think that shows with his batting (and) the way he applies himself as well.
"The reason you do all your training and all your hard work before the game is just in case a moment like that comes," Ponting said of Khawaja's catch. You want to make sure you've practiced it and trained it so it's not a fluke when you actually take one in a game."
Australia were brilliant on the field on the opening day of the Test match. They grabbed most of the possible chances, and Cummins' sensational run out of centurion Cheteshwar Pujara on the brink of Day 1 was one of the other major highlights.
Head coach Justin Langer has been pretty vocal about the fitness requirements and Ponting couldn't agree more.
"I know those guys were given some pretty clear direction on the way they needed to present themselves at the start of the summer," Ponting said.
"I know Justin's philosophies on that sort of stuff and it's fair enough. These guys are highly paid professional athletes and when you have days like this (on Thursday) when it's 39 degrees, it's obviously going to be easier getting around when you're 10 kilos lighter.
"It helps preserve your energy, but also mentally it's obviously going to make things easier. Full credit to those guys, they've obviously put in the work and it's started to pay off for them."