- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Usman Khawaja can dream of playing Test cricket in his birthplace of Pakistan after conceding a comeback Ashes century won't be enough for him to keep his spot for Hobart.
After two-and-a-half years in the Test wilderness, Khawaja completed a fairytale return on Thursday with a classy 137 at the SCG and his ninth Test century.
Filling in for the COVID-hit Travis Head, Khawaja played with style and elegance and has already scored more runs than all but two Englishman this summer.
His knock came in his first Test since being dropped in the 2019 Ashes, admitting since then he was at peace with his career if he didn't get another opportunity.
Khawaja's knock in Sydney should ensure more chances will come.
But Khawaja doesn't expect that will be at home summer, with Head available for Hobart after his own comeback ton at the Gabba last month.
"I knew it was one game for the series," Khawaja said.
"Heady's going to be back next game, he's going to be fit. I'm replacing him.
"The same thing happened to me once (in 2015), I scored a couple of hundreds, Shaun Marsh came in and scored 100 and he got dropped for me the next game.
"I understand the process. I'm not against that process either."
Khawaja's 260-ball knock was a reminder he can look immediately at home in Test cricket.
The 35-year-old made a mark with his first scoring shot, pulling Mark Wood for four in scenes reminiscent of his glorious debut innings at the SCG against England 11 years ago.
He drove superbly, looking at home against the spin of Jack Leach, once hitting the spinner to the cover boundary twice in one over.
And he burst into exaltation when he worked the spinner into the legside just before tea, bringing up his hundred off his 201st ball.
Khawaja's best chance to stay in the Australian could come at the top of the order, opening alongside childhood mate David Warner.
Selectors have made clear they want to give Marcus Harris a long run, but Khawaja's knock will only add further question marks around that call.
Khawaja averages 95.6 as an opener while Harris' career mark is at 25.21 after 25 innings.
He also has recent form in Asia, producing arguably his best Test knock in Dubai on Australia's last visit there.
And with Australia's first tour of Pakistan due for March, Khawaja now looms as a serious option for Australia in a scenario that could top his dream SCG return.
"It would be pretty cool," Khawaja said.
"Somewhere I was born. I have been back there a few times, made a lot of friends in the PSL.
"I've played in India, played in Bangladesh, played in Sri Lanka.
"It's amazing I haven't played in my own country of birth. If the opportunity comes it would be unbelievable."