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Khawaja ton puts Aussies ahead in 3rd Test

AAP logoAAP 25/11/2016 Steve Larkin

Usman Khawaja has added substance to his renowned style with a gritty century as evidence of his Test maturity, according to Australian great Shane Warne.

Warne believes Khawaja is "maturing before our eyes" after posting a determined ton against South Africa on day two of the third Test in Adelaide.

Khawaja became Australia's first centurion - and leading run-scorer from both nations - in the series.

"He's going to to learn a lot through this series through (facing) some quality South African bowling," Warne said while commentating on the Nine Network.

"He's going to be a better player after this series and I think you can already see it."

Proteas paceman Kyle Abbott, who finished with figures of 3-38 from 25 overs and regularly threatened on day two, was also full of praise for the classy dig.

"Uz batted very well. He was really in his bubble today and didn't let us really penetrate it at all," Abbott said.

"Incredibly disciplined.

"Guys of high quality aren't going to give you chances. When they do you have to take them and from what I can remember today, he didn't give us any."

Khawaja's century followed a 97 in the first Test in Perth and a 64 in the second Test in Hobart.

But despite his feats in the heavy Hobart loss, Khawaja was excluded from coach Darren Lehmann's certain selections for the day-night Adelaide Test.

Lehmann said only four players - captain Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and pacemen Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood - were automatic inclusions for Adelaide.

Ahead of the South Africa series, Khawaja described himself as a "scapegoat" when dropped during Australia's 3-0 Test series loss in July-August in Sri Lanka.

But his impressive performances against the South Africans surely have cemented his spot.

In Adelaide, Khawaja was thrust into the opener's slot when David Warner was prevented from his usual position because of spending too long off the field when a surprise declaration was called by the Proteas.

Khawaja weathered 12 overs on Thursday night and, on Friday, gained momentum with a series of powerful pull shots, drives and deft placement.

His fifth Test century - three of which came in a two-month span last summer - came from 197 balls and included 10 fours.

The elegant left-hander joins four South Africans as century-makers in the series but has topped them all for aggregate runs.

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