Usman Khawaja extends ‘Australian dream’ at Ashes but has no Hobart hopes

Usman Khawaja hit a century in the fourth Ashes Test

Usman Khawaja smashed his second hundred of his comeback Test to extend his “Australian dream” but the left-hander does not expect to be retained for the fifth and final Test against England.

Khawaja’s unbeaten 101 on Saturday followed his 137 in the first innings of the fourth test, a match he played only because Travis Head had tested positive for Covid.

Khawaja, born to Pakistani immigrants, said on Wednesday he was “living the Australian dream” and his fairytale comeback has now presented Australia with a selection headache with Head set to return for the Hobart test.

“At the moment I’m not really expecting to play the next test match, but I’ll always be ready for whatever happens,” Khawaja, playing his first test after 2-1/2 years in wilderness, told reporters on Saturday. “Who knows, someone else might get COVID, something might happen. You got to stay ready.”

The 35-year-old has frequently been in and out of the side and said he understood, even backed, the idea for stability in team selection.

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“Once you get selected for Australia, I think you should get a fair crack at it for a while. You put all that hard effort to get up there and to be selected.

“I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been dropped and picked and dropped and picked. I really enjoyed the process and the conversations the selectors had with the players.”

Considering his red-hot form, Australia could be tempted to play Khawaja as an opener replacing Marcus Harris who has managed one half-century in seven innings in the series.

“In the future maybe. I batted at five in this test match, it was lot of fun and got runs. You can’t really compare five to opening,” Khawaja said.

In Australia’s bowling department, Scott Boland capitalised on the absence of an injured Josh Hazlewood and made a match-winning debut in Melbourne.

Hazlewood could not recover from a side strain and Boland was retained for the ongoing fourth test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

“He was obviously going to be dropped if Josh Hazlewood was fit. That was just the reality of it and it sucks, but that’s cricket,” Khawaja added.

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