Marcus Harris impressed Usman Khawaja in the Sheffield Shield.
Marcus Harris impressed Usman Khawaja in the Sheffield Shield.

Debutant in waiting Harris gets Khawaja’s tick of approval

Usman Khawaja admits he knew little about Marcus Harris before the Victorian opener was named in Australia's first Test squad.

But Khawaja liked what he saw in Queensland's Sheffield Shield win over the Vics at the Gabba ahead of next week's Test series opener against India.

Harris is sweating on a Test debut in Adelaide after mixed results in the eight wicket Shield loss - his last chance to impress Australian coach Justin Langer before the XI is finalised.

However, Test opener Khawaja already seemed convinced Harris would look at home in a baggy green after his gritty fightback against the Bulls. Harris bounced back from a first innings failure to top score with 62 in Victoria's second innings on a difficult Gabba deck.

"Marcus Harris is probably the one guy I haven't really played with," said Queensland captain Khawaja.

"I haven't seen too much of Marcus live but he looks like a really good player.

"He put away our bad balls and was positive in the way he played which is important.

"He's playing really well right now. Hopefully it translates into more runs for him."

 

Usman Khawaja scored 41 and 18 against Victoria.
Usman Khawaja scored 41 and 18 against Victoria.
 

 

Langer claimed before the Shield clash that Harris and Victorian captain Peter Handscomb were vying for the final spot in his top six.

Handscomb responded by stroking 81 and 53 against the Bulls at the Gabba. But Harris sounded quietly confident of a Test call-up after hitting back with his second innings half-century against Queensland while selectors boss Trevor Hohns watched on.

"It was disappointing to get out for not many (in first innings) but to put a score on the board in the second dig gave me some confidence," Harris said. "It wasn't an easy wicket to score on but it felt good to spend some time in the middle.

"It (Shield match) was probably less nerve-racking than last week when I knew I had to keep performing (to make the Test squad).

"I am batting as well as I have ever batted, I reckon."