England 0-30 after Khawaja's twin SCG tons

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  • Usman Khawaja
    Usman Khawaja
    Australian cricketer
  • Pat Cummins
    Pat Cummins
    Australian cricketer
  • Graham Thorpe
    Cricket player of England. (born 1969)

Usman Khawaja has forecast a day-five grind at the SCG, where England's battered batsmen will seek to deny the veteran a fairytale finish after he scored two declaration-prompting centuries for Australia.

Khawaja's unbeaten 101 on Saturday made his dream recall all the more memorable, marking the 24th time an Australian man has scored two centuries in a Test.

England will resume at 0-30 on the final day of the fourth Ashes Test, having been set a target of 388 for victory.

Zak Crawley and Haseeb Hameed navigated 11 overs in what is already the tourists' highest opening partnership on this trip.

Khawaja scored 137 on Thursday, having entered the fray at 3-117 and left shortly before Pat Cummins declared at 8-416.

On Saturday, the left-hander's class and Cummins' declaration at 6-265 further demoralised an attack weakened by Ben Stokes' inability to bowl because of a side injury.

Some areas of the pitch are misbehaving, with several batters having copped painful blows to the gloves.

But Khawaja, having quickly moved the game along in style after being summoned to the middle at 3-68, expects his attack will need to work overtime to secure a 4-0 lead in the five-Test series.

"Fingers crossed we get some good weather because we probably need all those 98 overs that we have," the 35-year-old said.

"It's going to be a bit of a grind.

"I'd be surprised if they don't try to go for the total."

England's stand-in coach Graham Thorpe hinted at enforced changes for the Hobart series finale, with Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (thumb) and Jos Buttler (hand) all injured.

However, Thorpe indicated the trio will bat again in Sydney.

"I'm sure the lads will take whatever (painkillers) they need," Thorpe said.

"We're going to need - whether it's two, three or four of our players to really stand up and bat for a long time.

"Scoring runs is important for your confidence, even when you're actually trying to play for a draw."

Forecast showers loom as a potential impediment as Justin Langer's side seek to avoid a repeat of last year's result against India at the same venue.

India batted for 131 overs to salvage a draw on that occasion.

Khawaja described his 10th Test ton, the majority of which was compiled alongside Cameron Green (74) in a 179-run stand, as surreal.

"I don't think it's sunk in yet," he said.

"I've always wanted to score a century in both innings in first-class cricket and never done it.

"It all worked out pretty well, it doesn't always happen in life and cricket. It's special."

The knocks will raise further questions as to how selectors can leave Khawaja out of the XI in Hobart.

It would be easy to describe Saturday as deja vu for England, who once again heard boos ring out when Khawaja's batting partner failed to get the fan favourite on strike.

But it was more ruthless and rollicking than day two; he slog-swept Joe Root into the stands to crash into the nervous 90s then reverse-swept the under-fire captain's next ball.

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