Lehmann backs Khawaja for first Ashes Test


Batsman Usman Khawaja is set to return to the Australia team for the first Ashes Test against England later this year, according to coach Darren Lehmann.

The left-handed Khawaja was dropped for the second Test against Bangladesh after registering two single figure scores in the first game in Dhaka as the Aussies fought hard to draw the two-match series.

Khawaja has a poor record in subcontinent conditions, only averaging 14.62 with the bat in five Tests in Asia, but his record at home is what will get him the nod to play against England.

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The 30-year-old has scored four centuries in 10 Tests on home soil, at an average of 77.50, and will most likely bat at number three in the first Test of the summer in Brisbane.

Speaking to reporters in Chittagong, Lehmann said “I would think Usman would play the first Test match.

“For the make-up of the side we changed it here, but we think he’s a pretty special player and obviously he’s got a really good record in Australia.”

Lehmann was however not certain about the rest of the batting order, saying the number six position is still up for grabs.

Glenn Maxwell is favourite to occupy the middle-order spot but Hilton Cartwright, who replaced Khawaja against Bangladesh, could play himself into contention if he has a strong start to the domestic season.

Lehmann continued: “We’ll certainly be looking at that position. Anyone can jump out of the pack in the three Shield games and (come into) what we think the best make-up is for that first Test.

“Glenn is there at the moment (but) like everyone else, he’ll have to perform.”

The Ashes series, which consists of five Tests, starts on 23 November.