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Khawaja falls short of Boxing Day century

AAP logoAAP 28/12/2016 Michael Ramsey

Usman Khawaja has fallen agonisingly short of making his second Boxing Day Test century in as many years.

Khawaja looked primed to reach his sixth Test ton on day four at the MCG but was dismissed on 97, edging a swinging delivery from Pakistan's Wahab Riaz to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed in the fifth over.

Australia were 3-332 after the first hour of play on Thursday, with Steve Smith on 28no and Peter Handscomb unbeaten on 33.

It had been a typically elegant knock from Khawaja, who scored 144 in last year's Boxing Day Test against the West Indies.

The left-handed batsman combined with opener David Warner for a 198-run partnership on Wednesday to leave Australia well-placed after Pakistan's 9 (dec)-443.

Khawaja left most of the attacking to Warner, who scored at a run a ball on his way to 144, but still hit 13 boundaries and played particularly well against legspinner Yasir Shah.

The 30-year-old has been in excellent touch this summer but it's not the first time he has failed to make it out of the nervous 90s, scoring 97 in November's first Test against South Africa.

He followed it up with 64 in Hobart, a dashing 145 in the pink-ball Test in Adelaide and 74 in the first Test against Pakistan in Brisbane.

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