Usman Khawaja has left the cricket world in awe with another classy batting display in the series-deciding fifth ODI against India.
Australia won the toss and chose to bat first in Delhi and it paid dividends as Khawaja got the visitors off to a flying start.
Fresh from his 91 in the crucial fourth ODI, Khawaja was in fine touch again as he saw off India’s opening bowlers with ease.
Even when India’s deadliest attack weapon Jasprit Bumrah came on, the Aussie barely took a backward step.
The confidence that was oozing from Khawaja was wonderfully evidenced by a cheeky tactic he quickly employed against Bumrah.
The left-hander brought back memories of legendary fellow opener Matthew Hayden as he almost arrogantly walked down the pitch to meet the paceman’s deliveries head-on.
The ominous batting display had fans singing Khawaja’s praises on social media.
— Sports Express (@Xpress_Sports) March 13, 2019
Sublime batting by Khawaja. Full of class
— Hassan Cheema (@Gotoxytop1) March 13, 2019
Khawaja dispatches the ball with ease down the ground for a Boundary. #INDvAUS
— ❤ⱽᶦʳᵃᵗᶦᵃⁿADI🇮🇳❤ (@Aditya_k168) March 13, 2019
Khawaja at it again
— Abdullah (@HolaItsAbdullah) March 13, 2019
What did India do to Khawaja.. He's playing like Ponting came out of retirement.. Man's Btec Rohit Sharma of Australia..
— Sam (@UtdSam14) March 13, 2019
Regardless of what today's result will be, Australia is looking seriously good. Khawaja in red hot form, Cummins & Maxwell looking dangerous and Smith, Warner & Stark to join soon. Phew! 👌🏻#INDvAus
— Kelum Gamage (@kelum_gamage) March 13, 2019
Usman Khawaja to be included in the hall of fame list of those "left handers" that have given Indian bowlers nightmare.
Also, his game has reached a level up ever since his success in UAE vs Pak last year. #INDvAUS
— Anas Khan (@AnasMagnificent) March 13, 2019
Great start from Usman Khawaja again.
Surprised India are bowling so straight to him.
— CricBlog (@cric_blog) March 13, 2019
Openers to score four or more fifty-plus scores against India in an ODI series:
Chris Gayle, 2002 (4)
Usman Khawaja, 2019* (4)#INDvAUS
— Umang Pabari (@UPStatsman) March 13, 2019
Australia raced to 76-runs before Ravindra Jadeja got the breakthrough for India, removing visiting skipper Aaron Finch for 27.
Shortly after the drinks break, Khawaja brought up his fifty with a well-placed sweep shot off Jadeja.
In the 32nd over, Khawaja cut way away through the off side to bring up the second century of a tremendous series for the in-form star.
Moments after notching the milestone, however, Khawaja (100 off 106 balls) was caught by Indian skipper Virat Kohli at extra cover, giving Bhuvneshwar Kumar his first wicket.
Australia recalled Nathan Lyon and Marcus Stoinis at the expense of Jason Behrendorff and Shaun Marsh for the series-deciding match.
Stoinis broke his thumb while fielding during the third ODI.
The allrounder missed the fourth ODI, prompting selectors to call up Ashton Turner, but has since proved his fitness.
Turner demanded selection after his unbeaten 84, which completed a record chase of 359, so Marsh was the batsman to miss out.
Marsh is the only batsman in the current squad yet to produce a score of substance on tour but the veteran started the trip as one of the first picked in Australia’s XI, having produced four centuries from his past nine ODIs.
India opted to beef up their bowling stocks, calling up spin-bowling allrounder Jadeja and paceman Mohammed Shami at the expense of batsman KL Rahul and tweaker Yuzvendra Chahal.
Australia went into the match having never fought back from 2-0 down to win a five-match bilateral ODI series.