Usman Khawaja: Australia centurion savours Karachi homecoming

Usman Khawaja

Australia opening batter Usman Khawaja says that scoring a century in Karachi is a special moment that he will savour forever.

Khawaja had four relatives in the stands, with the city home to the bulk of his Pakistan-based family.

He also enjoyed plenty of support from the local crowd who chanted his name after his century.

“This is where the Khawajas are from. This is my home,” he told the host broadcaster.

“Would have been nice to get a hundred both [ in Rawalpindi] and here, but I’ll take this one.

“The fans have been great, they’ve been so supportive, I couldn’t ask for more,” he said. “I love it because you can tell they want Pakistan to win…but you can also tell they are very supportive of me.”

Usman Khawaja just looking to enjoy himself

Khawaja has delivered runs for Australia in Pakistan, but doesn’t take his place in the team for granted.

“It does feel right now like things are going pretty nicely, but I know the game can change pretty quickly,” he said.

“I’m just enjoying the journey. I’m at a point in my career where it’s more about enjoyment than anything else. Nothing lasts forever; I understand that.”

Khawaja admitted that he was surprised that Shaheen Afridi and Faheem Ashraf didn’t bowl more having produced Pakistan’s best spell on day one.

“It was reversing pretty big in that middle session, and just got really hard to score,” Khawaja said.

“We just had to grind. Me and Smithy knew that. If we saw an opportunity to score we were looking for it, but we weren’t presented with many. They bowled well in the middle session, and then [in] that last session, the spinners went a little bit negative to the leg side.”

Australia well-placed

Australia reached 251 for 3 by stumps on day one with Khawaja still at the crease on 127 not out.

Despite the loss of Smith late in the day Khawaja feels Australia are well-placed.

He said: “It would’ve been nice to have Smith there at the end too but we had a good partnership.

“We’ve still got plenty of batting to come. The wicket was pretty nice today.

“It’s going to get worse but I think the first two or three days it’ll be pretty nice but the feeling is it’ll break up at the back end.”