Khawaja gives selectors an Ashes migraine

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  • Usman Khawaja
    Usman Khawaja
    Australian cricketer
  • Marcus Harris
    Australian cricketer

Australia's selection headache has turned into an Ashes migraine after Usman Khawaja's twin tons on Test return added pressure for him to keep his spot in Hobart.

Khawaja on Saturday became the first Australian in six years to hit dual centuries on home soil, adding an unbeaten 101 to his first-innings 137 at the SCG.

Khawaja remains resigned to his fate that he will miss out on the Ashes finale, with Travis Head set to return at No.5 after overcoming COVID-19.

But the drums are beating for the Queenslander to be retained, potentially at the top of the order at the expense of Marcus Harris.

Khawaja's 10th career century came as Harris again failed to lock up his future, wasting another start when he fell on 27 to Jack Leach.

Promised a long run in the role at the start of the season, Harris's average still sits at 25.29 in 14 Tests where he is yet to reach triple-figures.

Khawaja also has experience at the top of the order, averaging 95.6 in his seven innings as an opener.

But the dual-centurion insisted his runs at No.5 at the SCG could not be compared to runs at the top of the order.

"At the moment I'm quite resigned to the fact that I probably will miss out," Khawaja said.

"Just talking to George Bailey and the selectors about continuity and making sure we have a similar team. I'm not totally against that.

"I felt like throughout my career, a lot of changes were made and I was I was on the wrong side of them.

"I'm the first to say that I think there needs to be structure and stability."

Khawaja therefore believed he was still very much only a reserve batsman for the fifth Test, starting Friday.

"Hopefully I've shown that I can still score runs at this level if an opportunity does present itself in the future," he said.

"I'm not a selector, but I know what they've been saying from the start.

"Even Scotty Boland bowled amazing last game ... and he was obviously going to be dropped if Josh Hazlewood was fit."

Boland's place is another headache for selectors.

Team officials confirmed on Saturday that Hazlewood would not head to Hobart for Friday's fifth Test after injuring his side at the Gabba.

Selectors and medicos agreed Hazlewood should focus on returning in the ensuing ODI series against New Zealand, rather than rush back for the dead rubber.

The news is better for fellow paceman Jhye Richardson, who has missed the past two Tests through injury but could soon have the pink ball in his hands.

Richardson took a five-wicket haul to win Australia the last day-night Test in Adelaide, but has sat out with leg soreness since then.

In his place, Boland claimed incredible figures of 6-7 in the second innings at the MCG, as well as 4-36 in the first innings in Sydney.

He also shapes as an x-factor headed into the last day at the SCG, as England look to save the fourth Test.

Selectors will be asked to either reward that, or show loyalty to Richardson as the original man picked before his leg soreness.

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