Cricket Ryan Harris backs Usman Khawaja for Australia Test spot

Usman Khawaja is ready to "explode" on Test cricket, but he was one of many top-order hopefuls to struggle on the opening day of the Sheffield Shield.

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Usman Khawaja is ready to "explode" on the Test scene, according to Ryan Harris, although the left-hander was one of many top-order Australia hopefuls to struggle on the opening day of the Sheffield Shield.

Khawaja, 28, made his Test debut against England in 2011 and has 377 runs from his nine Test caps to date at an average of 25.13.

Australia's selectors have two gaps in their batting line-up to fill after the retirements of Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers, with Khawaja well-backed to take the latter's opening spot, ahead of the first Test against New Zealand, which starts next week.

"He is probably ready to explode and show what he can really do at that level," Harris said of the Queensland opener.

"He is excited about a long career batting at one, two or three - wherever he bats, he wants to be in that Test side.

"His technique is pretty good but it's just his mindset. He's a pretty relaxed character. He's been there, done it... he's been exposed to a few faults in his technique at Test level.

"He's come back to first-class cricket and made some good runs. A lot of batsmen - even bowlers - talk about getting dropped and going back to first class cricket and it makes their hunger even stronger to make runs. He's one that's done that."

The Pakistan-born batsman made an unbeaten century for a Cricket Australia XI against a touring New Zealanders side, but followed that up with a nine-ball duck playing for Prime Minister's XI against a side featuring Test regulars Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

He again struggled for form in Wednesday's Shield action, falling for just 21 as Queensland tackle Victoria at the MCG, with team-mate and fellow Test hopeful Joe Burns also scraping 25.

Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh are also frontrunners for Test places but could only manage 10 and 15 respectively in action for Western Australia.

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