Australia v New Zealand Tests
Khawaja sidelined with hamstring injury
In-form first-drop set to return on Boxing Day after suffering hamstring injury at WACA
Adam Burnett at the WACA
15 November 2015, 03:21 PM AEST
Usman Khawaja's dream summer has taken a frustrating turn, with the in-form batsman set to miss Australia's next two Tests with a left hamstring strain.
Khawaja will miss the third Test against New Zealand in Adelaide and the series opener against West Indies in Hobart after he pulled up lame yesterday afternoon while chasing the ball in the outfield.
"Usman suffered a left hamstring injury in the field yesterday afternoon and underwent scans in Perth this morning," said Bupa Support Team physiotherapist David Beakley.
"The scans have indicated a moderate hamstring muscle strain, which means it is likely he will be unavailable for the next two Commonwealth Bank Test matches in Adelaide and Hobart."
The injury offers an unexpected opportunity for one of a number of candidates to stake their claim as a Test batsman, though given the incumbent’s form, he would be likely to slot immediately back into the side once fit.
Western Australian trio Cameron Bancroft, Shaun Marsh and Michael Klinger are all in the mix, while highly-rated New South Welshman Nic Maddinson could also find himself in the conversation.
Those men will not have to wait long to find out their fate, with the third Test squad likely to be named on day five in Perth.
Khawaja had a knee reconstruction last December after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and suffered a hamstring strain shortly before last month's Matador BBQs One-Day Cup.
He recovered sufficiently to take his place for the first Test against New Zealand and scored his maiden century, a brilliant 174 on his adopted home ground, the Gabba.
WATCH: Khawaja's maiden Test century
The 28-year-old backed that up with 121 as part of a triple-century stand with David Warner on day one at the WACA, confirming his arrival as Australia's new No.3 batsman.
Before the first Test, Khawaja was confident his problems were behind him.
"I'm fine, I can do everything – I can turn left and right, I am 100 per cent," he said. "I have done a lot of rehab the past eight months, I just had to do it five days a week, non-stop, because I didn't want to come back after all that and not have done everything I can to come back and do it again.
"I had to make sure I ticked all the boxes to come back."
Warner suggested that his teammate's heavy workload could have counted against him, given his relatively recent return to the game.
"(Scoring) back-to-back hundreds and running a lot out in the middle, back-to-back games, quick turnaround, then fielding at mid-off as well and having to chase a hell of a lot of balls to the boundary, it’s just not ideal," he said after play on day two.
"But that’s part and parcel of this game ... I know the bowlers have had their fair share of injuries and they know how he’s going to be feeling, so we wish him all the best and hopefully he can get back and recover soon."