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Experience is the biggest plus from these conditions: Khawaja

Notwithstanding the tame draw in the unofficial ‘Test’ against India A here today, Australia A captain Usman Khawaja said that he was happy to have gained valuable experience of playing in different conditions of the sub-continent.

Chasing a target of 240, the visitors reached 161 for four in 46 overs when the umpires decided to call off the four-day match after the two captains shook hands.

“Experience is the biggest plus. I told the guys before the match that do not worry whether winning or losing. Next time when we come for a series, the main goal for everyone will be to play in this condition as they rarely get such conditions to play on and perform,” Khawaja said in the post-match press conference at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

“I thought it is slower than what it would be. But the pitch turned and bounced but dead for fast bowling and it was disappointing that it slows the game down. In the end you can only play what is available. I am not sure what wicket we are going to get next week whether we are going to play on red clay or black, I am not sure,” he added.

If left-arm orthodox Steve O’Keefe bagged 6 wickets in the first innings then Peter Handscomb’s 91 stood out for the visitors when they batted. The Pakistan-born Khawaja was satisfied with the team effort.

“We tried our best. We were positive. We were two guys in the middle and at one stage we got a 100-run partnership but the wicket was very slow. We did try but it was not enough in the end,” said the top-order batsman.

If O’Keefe (6-82) enjoyed the slow turning track then Indian spinners Pragyan Ojha (5-85 and 1-47) and Amit Mishra (3-55 and 2-49) also made the most of it. Khawaja was quick to praise the opposition spinners.

“They bowled well. The conditions were helpful to spinners and that is why Stephen O’Keefe took eight wickets and (Gurinder) Sandhu bowled off spin to take two wickets. It is a spin friendly wicket. I think the Indian spinners bowled well,” he said.

“I do think that our batsmen really played well. We could have batted well in the first innings, we lost bottom half of the team losing quick wickets,” he added.

The next match begins July 28 and Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli will join the Cheteshwar Pujara-led side in the four-day game. Khawaja is not too bothered with the star value in the next game.

“Nothing changes for us. We will always be competitive. He is a world class player but does not change for us. We have got lots of international experience with us,” he said.