Khawaja expects to be DROPPED for fifth Test despite two centuries

Usman Khawaja expects to be DROPPED from Australia team for fifth Test despite hitting two centuries on astonishing return as he laments: ‘It sucks, but that’s just cricket’

  • Usman Khawaja has been the star of the show in the fourth Ashes Test
  • He struck a century in both innings’ after being brought into the team  
  • The 35-year-old took advantage of Travis Head being absent with Covid 
  • But he expects to miss out on the final Test despite his run-scoring heroics  

Usman Khawaja is expecting to be axed despite his astonishing return to Test cricket this week.

Khawaja, 35, completed twin centuries on Saturday after replacing Covid-19 victim Travis Head in Australia’s line-up at the SCG but said he was not expecting to retain his spot for the fifth and final match in Hobart next week – and even supported the rationale of such a decision.

‘At the moment I’m probably quite resigned to the fact that I will miss out,’ Khawaja said.

Usman Khawaja score two magnificent centuries in the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney

‘From talking to George Bailey and the selectors about continuity, making sure we have a similar team, and the team they picked for the first Test match. That was important and I’m not totally against that process, either.

‘Throughout my career a lot of changes were made, and I was on the wrong side of them from my point of view a few times. I’m the first to say that there needs to be structure and stability because I know how hard chopping and changing is on a cricketer’s confidence.

‘At the moment I’m not expecting to play the next Test, but I’ll always be ready.’

Khawaja’s performance – he struck an unbeaten 101 after hitting 137 in the first innings – follows a similarly strong one from another Australian called in from outside the first choice XI.

The Australia batsman is resigned to the fact that he’ll be dropped despite his heroics 

Although journeyman seamer Scott Boland took six for seven on debut as Australia sealed the Ashes in the Boxing Day encounter, he would have been dropped had Josh Hazlewood – who has since been ruled out for the remainder of the series with a side injury – proved his fitness for Sydney.

‘It’s just the reality. It sucks, but that’s just cricket,’ Khawaja reflected.

Ironically, prior to this comeback the left-hander had not appeared for Australia since the 2019 Ashes when Marnus Labuschagne was deemed indispensable following an eye-catching entrance to Test cricket as a concussion substitute and Steve Smith returned to fitness in Manchester.

Having opened for Australia in the past, Khawaja could be retained in place of Marcus Harris, although it is not a direction Bailey, and his fellow selectors appear keen to move in.

The batsman lamented: ‘‘It’s just the reality. It sucks, but that’s just cricket’

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