The shift across the Tasman has done nothing to dent Usman Khawaja’s incredible batting form, with the left-hander posting yet another century in the first Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
Khawaja moved to his fourth Test ton of the summer on the second morning at Wellington’s Basin Reserve, bringing up three figures with his 19th boundary.
It took him 157 balls to reach the milestone, steering Australia into a strong position after the home side was dismissed for just 183 on the opening day.
It’s Khawaja’s seventh century across all forms of the game this summer and his fourth against the Black Caps.
Since earning a recall for the first Test against NZ at the Gabba in November, Khawaja has peeled off scores of 174, 9no, 121, 109no, 144, 56, 62, 104no, 70, 14, 50, 44 and today’s century for Australia and the Sydney Thunder.
He had only secured his Test selection with an unbeaten 111 against the Black Caps in a tour match at Manuka Oval just weeks before that Brisbane Test, the day after he registered a duck in the Prime Minister XI’s match at the same ground.
That score of nought remains an outlier in his extraordinary summer.
Khawaja’s run fest has come despite injury and selection keeping him out of the international arena for two Tests, six ODIs and two T20 internationals over the course of the season.
Having started the Test summer with back-to-back centuries, a hamstring injury in Perth during the second Test ruled him out of action for five weeks. But the absence had no bearing on his touch and he returned to cricket with a breathtaking 109 not out for the Thunder against the Melbourne Stars.
That performance proved his fitness for the Boxing Day Test against the West Indies – in which he scored 144 and 56 – before he peeled off scores of 62, 104no and 70 in the final three matches of the Thunder’s title-winning run in the BBL.