Usman Khawaja joined rarefied company with back-to-back centuries in the Sydney Test on Saturday, but said he doesn’t expect it will be enough to keep his place in the Australia team for the finalAshes encounter. The stylish 35-year-old left-hander joined Australian batting greats Doug Walters and Ricky Ponting as scorers of two centuries in a Sydney Test with his 137 and unbeaten 101, though conceded it would not be enough to hold his place for the fifth Test in Hobart. Pakistan-born Khawaja only came into the side for isolating Covid victim Travis Head and he made full use of his opportunity with fairytale twin centuries.
Captain Pat Cummins has already guaranteed Head will regain his place for Hobart and there have been suggestions it will be at the expense of Marcus Harris, who again missed an opportunity to cement his berth in the Sydney Test.
“To be totally honest, I’ve batted at number five in this Test match and it was a lot of fun. I got runs but you can’t really compare five to opening,” he said.
“It’s like apples and oranges. I know because I’ve done both of them.
“I came in here for Travis Head, he’s had a great series and I know the selectors have made a lot of tough decisions in this series and I don’t really expect it to be any different because I scored back-to-back tons.
“It’s just the way it is. All I’ve done is I’ve had an opportunity for Australia, scored some runs which I am grateful for.
“The hunger is still there. I’ve shown that I can still score runs at this level if an opportunity does present itself in the future.”
Khawaja has delighted cricket watchers with his fluent strokeplay and has been the major reason why England face an against-the-odds challenge of chasing down 388 runs in the final innings on Sunday’s final day.
Khawaja’s unbeaten ton came off just 131 balls with 10 fours ad two sixes and he reached triple figures with a powerful pull shot through mid-wicket.
It is his 10th Test century, and third against England — all of which have come at the SCG.
The only other Australian cricketer with three Ashes centuries at the SCG is the legendary Victor Trumper.
The languid Khawaja has in one Test scored more runs than all of England’s batsmen apart from captain Joe Root.
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