Khawaja books Test spot with Shield ton
CRICKET: Three down, three to go.
You can put a tick next to Usman Khawaja's name when it comes to picking the Australian team to contest the third Test against South Africa at the Adelaide Oval.
Now, it's just a matter of who will join him and captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner in the batting order.
In what must have been one of the most eagerly anticipated days of Sheffield Shield cricket in some time, there were those who put up their hand, and those who didn't.
Interim Australian selector Greg Chappell was at the Gabba for Queensland's clash with South Australia and would have liked what he saw of Khawaja and the player looking more and more like a Test bolter, Matt Renshaw.
While Khawaja blasted a century (106 from 137 balls), his Australian teammate Joe Burns struggled, making just four after scores of one and none in the second Test in Hobart.
His spot at the top of the order could yet be taken by Renshaw, who, in his first Shield match of the season after recovering from a knee injury suffered in the domestic one-day series in October, hit a ton of his own (108).
After a slow start - he only scored 17 off his first 80 deliveries - he powered to his third first-class century, with seven fours and four sixes.
Born in Middlesborough, England, Renshaw in 2014-15 was the youngest batsman to make his first-class debut for the Bulls since Martin Love, before going on to become their leading run scorer in 2015-16 with 738 at 43.41.
He made a second-innings 94 for Australia A against a South African A attack spearheaded by Vernon Philander in July.
Needing runs to shore up his own spot, veteran Adam Voges was forced to retire on 16 while batting for Western Australia at the WACA after being struck on the helmet and carried off the field.
The 37-year-old will take no further part in the match after suffering his second concussion this year.
His young Warriors teammate and promising opener Cameron Bancroft (two) did little to enhance his chances of receiving a Test call-up, with both Renshaw and Victorian Travis Dean possibly leapfrogging him in the opening batting pecking order.
Dean, 24, matched Renshaw stride for stride at the SCG, notching his fourth ton in 16 first-class matches.
Fellow Bushranger Peter Handscomb, 25, also scored a century to keep his name in front of selectors as a possibility to help shore up the middle order.
Certainly limited-overs specialist Aaron Finch believes Handscomb "is ready to go”.
"He's someone who's got a nice technique, he's someone who makes runs under pressure ... he's made a hundred in a Shield final,” he said.
"Any time that Victoria has got their back against the wall, Peter is a guy who stands up.
"I think there would be no better time to pick Pete. He is a fantastic player and he will be a fantastic player for Australia for a long time.”