Usman Khawaja has warned England Steve Smith has a big century in store on day three of the third Test in Perth after the Australia captain got into a “little zone” to be on the cusp of another ton.
Smith finished day two on 92 not out, as Australia reached stumps on 3-203, 200 runs behind England’s first innings total.
Shaun Marsh is the other overnight batsman on 7 not out.
A second century of the series beckons for Smith, who was in superb touch as he frustrated the England bowling attack with some outstanding stroke play.
His innings so far includes 14 fours and a six, while he was scoring at an impressive run rate prior to applying the brakes to some extent late in the day.
Khawaja predicted his skipper would complete the assignment of posting a century on ‘moving day’ at the WACA ground after dominating England.
“He’s the kind of guy when he gets into a rhythm you don’t want to break it up,” he told Grandstand.
“He just gets in a little zone. He was in that little zone today, so he was batting beautifully.”
Khawaja posted the 10th Test half-century of his career and second in this series, before being dismissed late in the final session when he was trapped LBW by Chris Woakes for 50.
He and Smith had put together a vital 124-run partnership for the third wicket, although he conceded there was not much communication between the pair out in the middle.
“We don’t say much. We bat a lot together, we just go with the rhythm and the flow of the game and if we’ve got anything to say with each other we say it,” he said.
Khawaja admits to struggles against England attack
Khawaja was not convinced by his form out in the middle on day two, in contrast to his batting partner Smith.
“Personally I found it a little bit of a tough day, that’s just one of those days for myself I guess,” he said.
“It was quite tough at the other end watching Smudge [Smith] peeling them off. He batted beautifully. We were just trying to get a partnership going, so tomorrow is a big day for us I reckon.”
Khawaja stopped short of suggesting day three will decide the WACA Test, but he emphasised Australia was desperate to gain a first innings lead over England.
“There is a lot of hard work to be done tomorrow, three down,” he said.
“We want to get as many runs as we can. A lead would be outstanding but there is a lot of work to be done.”
Khawaja noted that several cracks were beginning to appear on the WACA pitch, describing its condition on Friday as being a “day three” type of wicket.