• Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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Australia’s Khawaja scores 100 in birth country Pakistan

File photo of Usman Khawaja after scoring a Test hundred against Pakistan (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

By: Sarwar Alam

Australian Usman Khawaja finally reached a hundred in the country of his birth Pakistan on the opening day of the second Test in Karachi on Saturday.

The 35-year-old pushed spinner Sajid Khan for a sharp single towards square leg, punching the air to celebrate his tenth Test hundred, his second against Pakistan.

The crowd of around 10,000 at the National Stadium applauded Khawaja on his feat.

It took Khawaja 273 minutes and 192 balls to reach the three-figure mark, spiced with 12 boundaries and a six.

Khawaja finished the day on 127 not out, guiding Australia to 251-3 after they won the toss and opted to bat on a dry National Stadium pitch.

Since his family, including his mom, was born in Karachi, Khawaja said it felt like “home”.

“I’ve been here a lot,” he said. “It’s nice to get a hundred here. It would have been nice to get a hundred both there (Rawalpindi) and here, but I will take this one.”

Khawaja showed delight at the crowd chanting “Khawaja, Khawaja” from the stands.

“Look, it was really nice. I think in Rawalpindi they were also saying that. The fans have been great. They have been so supportive. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Khawaja said some of his family was at the ground.

“I do have relatives in the crowd only for today. I have a big family here in Pakistan.”

Khawaja said all Test hundreds are “pretty special”.

“I think the Sydney ones were probably my favourite,” said Khawaja, who scored a century in each innings on his Test recall in the Ashes in January this year.

Khawaja missed a hundred by just three runs in the drawn first Test in Rawalpindi.

“It’s disappointing,” Khawaja said at that time. “It’s a bizarre feeling. Yeah, I would love to get a hundred out here. Rawalpindi, Islamabad — where I grew up.”

Australia are on their first tour of Pakistan since 1998, having refused to tour previously on security fears.

The third and final Test is in Lahore from March 21-25.

Eastern Eye

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