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Usman Khawaja likely to open against South Africa - Darren Lehmann

Usman Khawaja likely to open against South Africa - Darren Lehmann
Usman Khawaja has a phenomenal average of 70 in Australia.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australian coach Darren Lehmann revealed that Usman Khawaja might be assigned with the opening role in the upcoming home Test series against South Africa.

The 29-year-old was dropped from the Australian team for the third Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo after a series of low scores in the first two Tests where he managed just 55 runs overall. Even in the limited overs series, Khawaja failed to make an impact with scores of 0, 6, 36 and 6.

However, his record in Australia has been phenomenal as he scored 630 runs from seven Tests at an average of 70 and a highest score of 174.

Having batted most of his career at number three, Shaun Marsh's unavailability for the series due to a hamstring strain might prompt the team management to make the Queensland batsman open the innings along with David Warner.

"I think you can look at him (Khawaja) as a one, two or three," Australia coach Darren Lehmann told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday. "It depends on the make-up of the side.

"At the end of the day the captain will decide where the batting order lies and we’ll just give him the side we think is the best prepared and the best team to win that particular game."

Even though Khawaja scored a breezy knock of 82 against Ireland in Benoni, he failed to feature in the five-match ODI series against South Africa which his team went on to lose 5-0.

Khawaja currently captains Queensland in the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup where he will be hoping to gain some match practice before the all important South Africa Tests.

The southpaw also questioned the timing of the ODI series against South Africa before the start of the domestic season back home.

"I felt like I was seeing the ball well all throughout South Africa and still feel like I'm seeing the ball well," he said.

"Even in Sri Lanka where I didn't score a lot of runs, I didn't feel horrible.

"I found it really bizarre that we played that one-day series before a big test series," he said.

"That's how international cricket is going these days. There is no break."

Australia and South Africa will lock horns in a three-match Test series with the first game scheduled to take place in Perth on 3rd November.

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