Usman Khawaja toiled hard for eight hours and 44 minutes to register his maiden Test century in Asia that helped steer Australia to an epic draw. @ AFP
Usman Khawaja toiled hard for eight hours and 44 minutes to register his maiden Test century in Asia that helped steer Australia to an epic draw. @ AFP

Usman Khawaja shut critics with his match-saving century on a wearing Dubai pitch in the first Test against Pakistan on October 12. Khawaja, who has been earlier slammed for his poor record in Asian conditions, toiled hard for eight hours and 44 minutes to register his maiden Test century in Asia that helped steer Australia to an epic draw.

The Test against Pakistan was Australia s first since the infamous ball-tampering incident in the Cape Town Test in March this year. Steve Smith, David Warner were handed one-year suspensions, while Cameron Bancroft was suspended for nine months.

Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell feels Khawaja s ton came at a right time when Australia needed him to fill in the void left by Smith and Warner.

Following the suspension of their two most proficient batsmen, Steve Smith and David Warner, Australia badly needed Khawaja to display progress. He took a giant leap forward to help fill the void and deny a conservative Pakistan what seemed to be a certain victory after another calamitous first-innings collapse, Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo on Sunday.

Khawaja was a man on a mission as he set out to prove that his previously poor record in conditions of this sort was a thing of the past. He had a more aggressive approach that resulted in sharper footwork and profited from an improved fitness regime, and he displayed skill, determination and extraordinary stamina in demanding conditions.

Chappell said that Khawaja s change in approach to his batting against spin bowlers helped Australia. The leader of their resistance was the previously leaden-footed Usman Khawaja. The elegant left-hander displayed the benefit of a well-planned rethink of his approach to facing spin bowling, and an elevation to the top of the order. The most productive batting of the Test match came against the new ball where the opening partnerships prospered, Chappell wrote.