Khawaja injury setback for Australia
Usman Khawaja will be a doubtful proposition for the third Test of the series against New Zealand after suffering a left hamstring injury while fielding on the second afternoon of the WACA Test.
Chasing a leg-side flick by Kane Williamson, Khawaja pulled up sharply near the boundary and then made a slow trudge off the field, accompanied by the Australian team's physio David Beakley. "Usman Khawaja has left the field with a left hamstring injury," a Cricket Australia spokesperson said. "He will have a scan tomorrow to assess the extent of the injury."
The injury is a major blow to the 28-year-old Khawaja, after a rousing resumption of his Test career featuring hundreds in each of the first two Tests of this series.
It will also be a fly in the ointment of the national selectors, who had hoped to settle their new top order this summer following a raft of retirements at the back end of the Ashes.
The west Australian pair of Shaun Marsh and Cameron Bancroft were both in contention for Test selection prior to the start of the New Zealand series; the former is considered an adaptable option in several spots in the batting order while the latter, an opener, is admired due to his youth and deliberate batting style.
David Warner said Khawaja's fatigue may well have contributed to the injury. "I think obviously back-to-back hundreds and running a lot out in the middle, back-to-back games, quick turnaround, then obviously 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.
"But that's the part and parcel of this game it can be quite challenging and 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. Fingers are crossed he can try and recover in the next 10-15 days."
Injuries have been a source of considerable torment for Khawaja in recent years, after he missed the majority of last summer due to a serious knee injury and was also absent from the start of the home summer this year due to another hamstring complaint.
There had been a fortunate escape for Joe Burns the previous over, when a Williamson pull shot flew squarely into the helmet and visor of the short leg fielder. Burns was momentarily stunned and checked by the team doctor Peter Brukner before resuming in his position.
On the first evening, Khawaja had reflected on his pair of sublime hundreds but also the fatigue that set in towards the end of his innings.
"It feels awesome, but to be honest I was so tired out there it was hard to enjoy this as much as the first one," he said. "It was a hot day, me and Davey were just willing each other to keep going. You don't want to get out, you just keep batting, you start thinking a little bit less. There wasn't much talking going on in that last hour, we were just walking to each other and staring at each other and then walking back."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig