The opening day of the second Test match between Pakistan and Australia in Karachi belonged to Usman Khawaja, the Islamabad-born Aussie opener. He migrated to Australia as a child, and on Saturday, the 35-year-old hit an emotional ton in the country of birth.
Australia captain Pat Cummins won the toss and opted to bat first at the National Stadium. Khawaja was involved in a good opening stand of 82 runs with David Warner (36), then shared a stand of 159 with Steve Smith (72) as Australia reached 251/3 at the close of play on Day 1.
Khawaja, who missed out on a century by three runs in the drawn first Test in Rawalpindi, was unbeaten on 127. After the day's hard work, Khawaja reflected on his Karachi links.
"My family is from Karachi, everyone is born in Karachi, except me. This is where the Khawajas are actually from. It's nice to get a hundred at this ground, I'll take it any day," the left-handed batter told broadcasters.
Khawaja had four relatives in the stands in Karachi on Day 1.
"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."
Khawaja has been in and out of the Australian Test team. But after making a comeback in January for the 4th Ashes Test against England, he has been scoring heavily. Playing in his first Test in nearly three years, Khawaja hit 137 and 101 not out in Sydney. He has now scored three tons in four matches.
"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 made his Australia debut in a Test against England in Sydney in January 2011. He has since played 47 Tests, scoring 3239 runs with 11 centuries. He has also played 40 ODIs and nine T20Is, scoring 1554 and 241 runs.