NZ vs AUS: Usman Khawaja forced to remove dove and olive branch sticker from bat

Khawaja made 28 runs in the second innings of the first Test against New Zealand.

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Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja (Photo Source: X/Twitter)

On Day 3 of the ongoing first Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, Usman Khawaja’s bat cracked and had to call for a replacement in the opening session. Substitute Matthew Renshaw came in with a few options to choose from as the opener picked up a bat which sported a dove logo with an olive branch -  a sticker that the International Cricket Council (ICC) controversially banned during Australia’s series against Pakistan in 2023-24.

Notably, in December 2023, the cricketer first decided to use the logo and the sticker in order to raise awareness for the war in Gaza. However, the ICC ruled it a ‘political protest’ and denied permission to use it in international cricket. Following which, he had multiple meetings with the ICC officials and also with Cricket Australia (CA) but no solutions were concluded in the southpaw's favour as he had to back out.

Also Read: Green, Hazlewood break McGrath-Gillespie's long-standing record in New Zealand

Subsequently, the cricketer was asked to remove the dove and olive branch logo from his replacement bat on the third day. He made 28 runs in the second innings as Australia posted a target of 69 runs. The Kiwi bowlers ran riot in the second innings, bundling the visitors to 164 runs. All-rounder Glenn Phillips once again reigned supreme as the 27-year-old picked up a brilliant five-for, while Matt Henry picked up three wickets.

Interestingly, batting at 4, Nathan Lyon scored the most number of runs for Australia in the second innings. He came in to bat as a ‘night watchman’ on Day 2, but the off-spinner proved extremely valuable as he scored 41 runs during his stay at the crease. Cameron Green, who hit a terrific century in the first innings, scored 34 runs while six Aussie batters failed to score in double digits, which helped the Kiwis make a comeback in the game.

Also Read: Nathan Lyon surpasses Courtney Walsh to become seventh-highest wicket-taker in Test history

When it came to the chase, the hosts lost two quick wickets of Tom Latham and Kane Williamson. The breakthrough of Williamson early in chasing a massive target is a massive blow to their start but the likes of Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell and Phillips have the ability to get the job done, but it’s going to be a mountain to climb for the BlackCaps. With seven wickets in hand and more than 300 runs to get, both the teams are even-stevens in the contest.

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