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Khawaja scores first Test century in Asia

By AAP Newswire

Once considered a liability in Asian conditions, Usman Khawaja has defied his doubters with a hard-fought century in the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai.

An emotional Khawaja gazed to the sky and appeared to be overcome with relief as wife Rachel cried in the stands after the milestone arrived shortly after lunch on day five.

Khawaja's seventh Test century and first in Asia came from 224 balls, the left-hander combining with Travis Head (72) for a 137-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Concerns about Khawaja's poor record on turning tracks meant he was overlooked during last year's Test series in India and dropped after one Test in Bangladesh.

But the Queensland opener top-scored with 85 in the first innings in Dubai and he again dug in grimly in the second dig, surviving a collapse in which Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and Mitch Marsh all fell without Australia adding to their score.

With Australia's batsmen preaching the need to bat for time, Khawaja endured 175 balls in the calamitous first innings and took a similarly patient approach in the second.

The 31-year-old's changing fortunes are best exemplified by the guidance he provided after Australia lost 10-60 on day three.

Australia's left-handed batsmen - Khawaja, Head, Shaun Marsh and 12th man Matthew Renshaw - convened with coach Justin Langer in the middle of Dubai International Cricket Stadium after play.

Head revealed Khawaja had provided advice on how best to handle the conditions after offspinner Bilal Asif ran through the left-handers.

"We just spoke with Uz," Head said.

"He played beautifully, and it was a lot about realising the work we've done over the last month - backing our plans, backing the way we've been playing.

"We've been playing and training extremely well. It was just to go out there, stay nice and relaxed, have a look at the wicket and talk about a few ideas and strategies Usman employed.

"Different guys have got different ways of going about it. So it was about staying calm, enjoying the challenge ... being brave and backing your ability."