Sydney - Usman Khawaja's comeback from surgery on his knee is ahead of schedule with the opener on Thursday confident of being ready for the first Test against India next month.
The experienced left-hander, who hit a fighting hundred to help Australia scramble to a draw in the first Test against Pakistan last month, has been out of action since the second Test of that series.
His stability at the top of the order - which is already without the banned Steve Smith and David Warner - has been sorely missed after a string of recent Australian batting capitulations.
He underwent surgery late last month and is already back running.
"I'm 10 kilograms lighter than I was in South Africa maybe seven months ago, so I'm sure that helps the knees in some respects," he told cricket.com.au.
"My recovery is going really well so far. I'm trying to keep it cool, but it's actually going really well.
"I feel like I'm a little bit ahead of where I should be," added the 31-year-old.
"If I keep doing the little things right - looking after my body, being disciplined - hopefully that'll transition to me coming back in time."
Cricket Australia's website said there was a chance Khawaja could play in Queensland's Sheffield Shield match against Victoria starting on November 27.