Usman Khawaja (left) and David Warner embrace at the SCG.
Usman Khawaja (left) and David Warner could bring an emotional end to their opening partnership. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

Warner, Khawaja have chance to create own iconic exit

Scott Bailey January 6, 2024

David Warner and Usman Khawaja have the chance to write their own SCG fairytale and complete the perfect sign off to a partnership spanning more than two decades.

Seventeen years since Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden’s famous embrace at the same ground, Warner and Khawaja will be able to create their own epitaph on Saturday.

The SCG Test is bound for a day-four finish after Pakistan went to stumps on Friday at 7-68, a lead of 82.

Australia look likely to be set a victory target of around 100 – offering the chance for the retiring Warner to finish his career not out and with long-time opening partner Khawaja at the other end.

It would be a fitting last hurrah for the duo, who first played together as children and regularly walked out together for South-Eastern in NSW district representative cricket.

Justin Langer (left) and Matthew Hayden embrace.
 Justin Langer (left) and Matthew Hayden embrace at the end of the fifth Ashes Test in 2007. Image by AP PHOTO 

So great is their history back to junior cricket, it even surpasses that of Langer and Hayden – who opened together in 113 Test innings before the former’s retirement in 2007.

With 46 required for victory in Langer’s final Test against England in the 2006-07 Ashes, the pair were together for the final runs and high-fived as they completed the win.

The two then shared a lengthy embrace, with Hayden planting a kiss on the head of his close friend.

“That’s the thing I miss most, walking out across the white line with you, going to open the batting” Langer said to Hayden in a subsequent Cricket Australia video. 

“I had prepared this speech, (I was going to say) ‘I love you, I’m going to miss opening the batting with you’. 

“And I looked up and you’re crying as well.”

Usman Khawaja (left) and David Warner walk out to bat at the SCG.
 Khawaja (left) and Warner share a lengthy history from junior cricket to the international stage. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

Warner and Khawaja have rarely publicly shown the same emotion towards each other. But there have been signs of it this week.

Warner’s eyes began to well up when he spoke of Khawaja in his pre-match press conference this week, with his voice clearly cracking when outlining his affection for his close friend.

On Thursday night, Khawaja detailed in great length his admiration for Warner and the way he had sacrificed his own public image at the order of coaches who told him to be the team’s attack dog.

Teammates are aware of the possibility of a dream finish to the series and what has been labelled ‘Warner week’, with Australia able to wrap up a 3-0 whitewash of Pakistan.

“If we do get a chance to bat tomorrow, it’s not going to be an easy chase,” Australia’s wicketkeeper Alex Carey said. 

“We’ve seen the wicket play some tricks. 

“In an ideal world, it would definitely be David hitting the winning run. So fingers crossed we can see that.”