Khawaja dropped down order for tour game

Incumbent Test No.

南宁桑拿

3 Usman Khawaja did not bat No.3 for the Australians in their two-day tour match against England Lions in Northampton, in a worrying sign for the battling left-hander.

Phil Hughes instead came out at first drop and Shane Watson at No.4, with Khawaja under significant pressure to hold his place for the fifth Ashes Test starting at The Oval on Wednesday.

The fact that Khawaja has been pushed so far down the order in a match tailor made for Australia’s struggling batsmen to spend time in the middle, suggests the 26-year-old may not be in the selectors plans for The Oval.

Coach Darren Lehmann put his batsmen on notice after the collapse in the fourth Test at Chester-le-Street that careers were on the line.

At lunch on the final day of the rain-affected tour match, the Australians were 2-59 from 19 overs, after The Lions had declared on their overnight score of 7(dec)-269.

Hughes was 5 not out, and had an excellent opportunity to put his case for a recall beyond doubt.

Stand-in skipper Shane Watson was unbeaten on 1.

Khawaja had spent two years out of the Test team and hasn’t looked convincing since his return at Lord’s.

He scored 54 in the second innings of that match, but otherwise he’s struggled with scores of 1, 24, 0 and 21 – although he did cop the worst umpiring call of the series in the third Test at Manchester.

Khawaja hasn’t looked comfortable in a position where Australia urgently need to find solidity.

Hughes is hardly banging the door down, however he has performed well enough to feel aggrieved he was dropped in the first place.

The 24-year-old averages 62 for the tour so far, higher than any other batsman.

He’s scored 436 runs and five half centuries so far in the UK, including an 81 not out in the first Test at Trent Bridge that he regards as one of his best ever Test innings.

David Warner continued his strong form to score 35 from 46 balls, with five fours, before he was out stumped in the 15th over trying to drive through the covers.

Ed Cowan reunited with Warner as the opening partnership, but a sorry tour continued for the Tasmanian, out for 17 caught behind.

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