Australian opener Usman Khawaja has been cleared of concussion and fractured jaw after getting hit flush on his chin by a brutal delivery from Shamar Joseph on day three of the opening Test against West Indies in Adelaide on Friday (January 19).
Chasing 26 in the fourth innings, after wrapping up the West Indies innings quickly early on Day 3, things were going extremely smoothly for Australia. Both Steven Smith and Khawaja looked in cruise control, and the 16,000-odd spectators at the Adelaide Oval were having a ball, waiting for the inevitable victory.
In the seventh over, with just one more run required, it looked like Khawaja would be the man that would take the Aussies home, but in a scary little moment, the left-hander had to walk off the field concussed, after copping a blow from debutant Joseph.
Joseph, who lit up Adelaide on Days 1 & 2 with a five-wicket haul, came charging in and bowled a well-directed short ball that did not rise up as much as Khawaja anticipated. The opener took his eyes off the ball and, for a second, turned his head the other way around.
The miscalculation proved costly as the left-hander got hit bang on his chin. Khawaja, after getting hit, instantly threw his helmet off and grimaced in pain. He looked rattled, and all those around him, even the West Indies players, sported a look filled with concern.
He underwent a mandatory concussion check but was not cleared by the support staff, who advised the opener to retire hurt as precaution. Khawaja obliged and walked off the field.
After passing the initial concussion test in the dressing room, he was sent for a scan to check for any structural damage to his jaw, and even that came clear. However, he will have to pass another concussion test on Saturday to get a green signal for the second Test, which starts on January 25 in Brisbane.
Australian captain Pat Cummins said: “He seems okay. It's a little bit of a sore jaw. So yeah, (we'll) monitor it but he seems okay."
The left-hander was replaced by Marnus Labuschagne, who finished the job off on just his second ball, pulling Joseph towards square leg to complete the victory. Now, should Khawaja not recover in time, Australia are likely to open with Matt Renshaw, who recently was released from the hosts’ Test squad to play the Big Bash League (BBL) qualifiers.