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Dream return for one-ton Khawaja


If this is a dream, Usman Khawaja doesn’t want to wake up.

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Not this time.

Recalled batsman Khawaja realised a dream – literally – after his unbeaten maiden century helped guide Australia to 2-389 at stumps on the first day of the opening Test against New Zealand in Brisbane.

But No.3 Khawaja (102 not out) didn’t feel like pinching himself, admitting the last time he dreamed of hitting a Test ton he woke up and “had a horrible day”.

“I’ve wanted to get a Test hundred for Australia my whole life, there were times over the last three or four years I thought it might not happen,” said Khawaja, who has overcome a nine-month knee injury.

“When it (the century) did happen the build up of a lot of emotions came out because it’s what I always dreamt about.

“I physically actually dreamt about it once then I woke up and it was a horrible day.

“I’m glad it came to fruition. Hopefully I don’t wake up in the next five minutes.”

Only something out of the ordinary it seemed would deny Khawaja his dream in his first Test for Australia in two years.

And for a moment, Khawaja thought that nightmare had been realised.

On 65, Khawaja collided with Kiwi fieldsman Martin Guptill running between wickets and was left grasping his left knee.

The same left knee that required a reconstruction and months of gruelling rehabilitation, ensuring Khawaja missed the 2015 World Cup.

But Khawaja, 28, could see the funny side of the freak accident by stumps.

“I’m just getting old. I got a little jar on my left knee, the one I had surgery on, it hurt like crap,” he said.

“I was making sure I was all right, it was sore for 10 overs but by the end of it it was pretty good – I am fine.”

Khawaja had survived another scare on 60 when he had to dive full length to make his ground for a quick single thanks to a direct hit from that man Guptill.

But nothing could stop Khawaja.

He shared a 150-run second wicket stand with opener David Warner (163) to all but ensure the first Test is already Australia’s to lose.

After striding out with the team at 1-161, Khawaja stroked 10 fours and two sixes in his 133-ball stay to maintain his love affair with the Gabba.

In eight Sheffield Shield matches at the Brisbane venue, Khawaja has scored 839 runs at 69.92, including three tons.

Yet, in his previous nine Tests, Khawaja had amassed just 377 runs at 25.13 with just two 50s before being dropped after the 2013 Ashes.


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