Usman Khawaja, (Credit - AAP, Sydney Morning Herald).
Usman Khawaja, Credit: Sydney Morning Herald & AAP.
BY DAVID GAVIN

UNSW aviation graduate Usman Khawaja scored back-to-back centuries on recall to the Australian Test Cricket team in the fourth Vodafone Ashes Test match this week at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Khawaja, who turned 35 last month and became UNSW's first Global Ambassador in 2011, replaced incumbent batter Travis Head in Australia’s middle order after the 28-year-old tested positive to COVID-19, making the most of the opportunity with his 137 from 260 balls followed by 101 not out in the second innings.

The elegant left-hander became just the 16th male Australian batter to score a century in each of the two innings of a Test cricket match and the third at the SCG, alongside Ricky Ponting (2006) and Doug Walters (1969). On only 24 occasions has the feat been achieved. 

It is Khawaja's first Test in more than two years and 45th in total. The Sydney Thunder and Queensland captain last featured in a Test match during the last Ashes series, drawn 2-2 in England mid-2019.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The left-hander has now scored centuries in his last two Test matches against England at the SCG, last time posting 171 in 2018.

Khawaja this week returned to Test level almost 11 years to the day since he made his Test debut, at the very same ground where he first played Sheffield Shield cricket for NSW and, less than 4km from where he completed his Bachelor of Aviation between 2005 and 2008.

His SCG century this week carried on a stellar run of over the past two years.

Khawaja has amassed 933 runs during that period, averaging more than 62 per innings, including 460 in five Shield games this season. Last season, Khawaja led his new state to it's ninth Sheffield Shield title.

Usman Khawaja scoring a century for Queensland in October, Credit - Cricket Australia/Getty Images.
Usman Khawaja scoring a century for Queensland in October (Credit - Cricket Australia/Getty Images).
 

Leading up to this Ashes series, it was widely reported that Khawaja was in a two-man contest with Head for the final remaining spot in Australia’s middle order.

The South Australian got the nod and cemented his place with a Player of the Match 152 at the Gabba, in Brisbane.

Khawaja has been with the Australian squad since the start of the series in case of an injury or such circumstances which led to his recall.

Born in Pakistan, and migrating to Australia when he was a young boy, Khawaja graduated from UNSW in 2008 and gained his commercial pilot’s licence whilst balancing representative cricket and study.

During his time at UNSW, Khawaja was part of the Elite Athlete Program, providing eligible current students with the necessary support to successfully integrate their academic life with their sporting careers.