Huge blow as Khawaja suffers serious injury
USMAN Khawaja looks set for surgery on his left knee in a crushing blow to Australia's plans to compete with India this summer.
Cricket Australia confirmed Khawaja has suffered a meniscus tear and will meet a surgeon on his return to Australia where it's anticipated he will require an operation that could keep him out for at least four-to-six weeks.
Australia's first Test against India starts on December 6 at Adelaide Oval and Khawaja will be racing the clock to be fit for that date.
Severe meniscus tears can sideline athletes for up to three months but there appears hopes Khawaja's recovery time might not be that long.
The doubt over Australia's No.1 batsman is a disastrous situation for an already depleted side desperately relying on the Queenslander to be their new batting spearhead with Steve Smith and David Warner sidelined through suspension.
The silver lining for Khawaja and Australia is that he has been cleared of any damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, which he ruptured back in 2014 and missed 12 months of cricket.
Khawaja would appear at significant risk of not being fit for the first Test against India and could be racing the clock to have enough preparation work under his belt to come back for the second or third Tests in late December.
After Khawaja stepped up with the signature innings of his career in the first Test in Dubai, he suddenly became the key man for Australia.
Losing him for any stretch of time would be a major blow for a young side trying to rebuild.
Khawaja twisted awkwardly in a warm-up drill before day three in Abu Dhabi where he was throwing balls.
The 31-year-old was sent for a scan last night and results were confirmed in the morning.
Khawaja was limping badly when he walked out onto the field on the morning of day four but Australia haven't completely ruled him out of batting if required.
Australia says his pain and function levels will be monitored through the course of the day with the tourists staring down the barrel of defeat in Abu Dhabi.
Having pulled off the great escape in Dubai thanks to a Khawaja century, Australia will have to not only repeat but better that effort to escape the United Arab Emirates with an unlikely series draw against Pakistan.
The Australians saw out 139.5 overs in their fourth innings to draw the first Test.
They'll have seen out roughly 192 if they manage to do the same in the second after Pakistan declared its innings on day three at 9-400 with a lead of 537.
To put that in perspective the highest successful chase in history is 418, while the longest ever fourth-innings in Asia is 143.1 overs.
Australia got through 12 of those 192 overs on Thursday night (AEST) but it came at the cost of Shaun Marsh with Tim Paine's team going to stumps at 1-47
Encouragingly for Australia, Aaron Finch (24) and Travis Head (17) both managed to get through a testing period at the end of the day's play.
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