“It’s a special one,” Khawaja cherishes maiden ODI ton
Usman Khawaja recorded his maiden ODI ton

Usman Khawaja termed his maiden ODI century “huge” while insisting the first is always tough to get. Khawaja hit a 104-run knock in his 24th one-day international and shared a 193-run stand with captain Aaron Finch to play a significant role in Australia’s 32-run win in the third ODI. (READ: Khawaja, Finch stand trumps Kohli 123 as Australia stay alive)

“Yeah it’s huge. The first one is always hardest – no matter what you’re playing. It’s obviously a special one. I found the same thing in Test cricket as well as in one-day cricket. I got that 98 before a few years ago, it was frustrating and disappointing, said Khawaja. (READ: Can’t afford anymore collapses – Kohli)

Australia, following back-to-back narrow defeats in the first two ODIs, managed to stay alive in the series with a win in Ranchi, and Khawaja added the belief is pretty much in tact in the team to pull off a series win in India.

“Any win you are very happy. That’s why we play the game. We love competing and winning against a very good Indian side. It’s always nice to do that – especially on their turf. We lost the first two and won the third one. We are still in the series and feeling is good,” Khawaja said.

Khawaja didn’t agree with the notion that he finally got measure of bowlers, who had his number’ during the Test series back in Australia.

“Not really. I’ve scored a lot of runs here for Australia A in one-day (List A) cricket. I went over to Chennai a few years ago and I was the leading run-scorer for Australia A there. Then I scored a hundred here six months back in another Australia A series. So I have performed well here before,” he said.

One of the biggest gains for Australia was Finch’s return to form. The opener scored 93 and was particularly effective against chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav. Khawaja reckoned Finch had a measure of Kuldeep and it worked well Friday night.

“There was no set plan. It was just the feeling out in the middle. Instincts. When a bowler comes on – you feel like he can take him. When Kuldeep came on, I knew he (Finch) was hitting to the short side with the spin. When he took him on that first over, it was obvious he could clear the rope pretty easily with that short boundary,” Khawaja said.

“So as soon as I got any strike, I was just trying to get a single and give him as much strike as possible. That’s just a partnership – it’s how you work as batsmen, you sort of understand what the other guy is trying to do.”