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Aus vs WI 2023-24 – Usman Khawaja on course for Gabba after Adelaide head blow

Usman Khawaja remains on course to be available for the second Test against West Indies in Brisbane having continued to pass his concussion protocols following the blow to the head shortly before the end of the game in Adelaide.

Khawaja was struck on the side of helmet by a short ball from Shamar Joseph and retired hurt with one run needed for victory. He passed the initial concussion assessment in the dressing room and has continued to not show any symptoms over the weekend.

He is due to return to training on Tuesday during Australia’s main session ahead of the Gabba Test.

“He completed normal concussion assessments today [Sunday],” a CA spokesperson said. “Khawaja will continue to be monitored for any delayed symptoms. He will be reviewed again tomorrow prior to returning to training.”

Khawaja’s progress means Australia are likely to remain unchanged for the second Test as they look to wrap up the series 2-0. Matt Renshaw is the spare batter in the squad and he will likely be made available for Brisbane Heat’s Challenger final against Adelaide Strikers on Monday. He may also be allowed to feature in the final against Sydney Sixers on Wednesday, the eve of the Test, if Heat make it through.

The three frontline quicks are set to play their fifth Test of the season together with the opening match in Adelaide having taken little more than two days, following all three Tests against Pakistan ending in four.

Alongside Nathan Lyon, it will be the first time since 2013-14 against England that Australia will have gone through a home Test summer of at least five matches with an unchanged attack when Lyon was also part of the group alongside Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle.

“At the start of the summer I didn’t think it was going to be the case,” captain Pat Cummins said. “But it’s shaping up that way which is a huge nod to the fitness of the guys and the medical team and a couple of helpful wickets.”

With Josh Hazlewood having passed 250 Test wickets in Adelaide, all four of the frontline bowlers now have that tally – the first attack in history to achieve the feat.

With two Tests to come against New Zealand from late February there’s a chance they could play seven consecutive matches together as an attack. The three quicks are being rested from the ODI series against West Indies early next month but some could feature in the T20Is which follow.

Scott Boland has been with the Test squad throughout the season (although was released to play games for Melbourne Stars) while uncapped quick Lance Morris would also be close to a call-up if a replacement was needed. He was part of the squad early in the Pakistan series before being left to play for Perth Scorchers where he took 13 wickets at 19.00 in nine matches.

“It’s awesome travelling with the Aussie guys but nothing replicates playing cricket,” Morris said ahead of the Knockout final where Scorchers’ campaign ended against Adelaide Strikers.

“[I’ve been] putting a few things into practice – having the bravery to take it out in the middle was tough, but I made a conscious effort to try a few different things and expand my game this year. It’s something you can only get with experience.

“When the pressure is on and you’re in front of a big crowd, you need to fall back on to your strengths and it only comes through playing a lot of cricket.”

Morris is in line for his ODI debut against West Indies in the three-match series while both he and Boland likely to be included in the Test squad to tour New Zealand.

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