Usman Khawaja's timely ton saves Australia A, presses for Test spot
Bangalore: Usman Khawaja has taken a major step towards confirming his place in the first Test against Pakistan with a maiden first-class century in India.
Khawaja provided the backbone of Australia A's innings on day one of a four-day match against India A, saving the tourists with 127 from 228 balls in a timely knock that included 20 boundaries.
It was welcome breakthrough for the left-hander, who's struggled on Asian pitches with a Test average of 14.62 on the subcontinent.
Khawaja's technique against spin has long been a headache for national selectors.
But his century in Bangalore as his teammates struggled is almost certain to be rewarded with national XI selection.Advertisement
Australia will play their first Test since an ill-fated South African tour when they meet Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on October 7-11.
The Australian team will be named at the end of the two-match series against India A.
Australia A captain Mitchell Marsh won the toss but he was among a middle order that collapsed, with Travis Head (4) and Peter Handscomb (0) also failing after Khawaja and Kurtis Patterson (31) put on 78 for the opening wicket.
Khawaja needed lower-order support from Marnus Labuschagne (60) to give Australia's A innings respectability.
Labuschagne was not in the initial 14-man squad but Matt Renshaw's hamstring injury opened the way for a late call-up.Loading
He made the most of his opportunity, facing 105 balls for 11 boundaries in a 114-run fifth-wicket partnership with Khawaja.
Khawaja and Labuschagne fell to India A seamer Mohammed Siraj, who tore through Australia A to finish with 8-59 from 19.3 overs.
Siraj snared the first five Australian A wickets to fall and he had Khawaja caught behind to end the innings.
India A advanced to 41 without loss with Mayank Agarwal (31) and Ravikumar Samarth (10) surviving 12 overs before stumps.
- Usman Khawaja
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