Usman Khawaja scored his highest Test score. Steve Smith reached a landmark century. Australia was at 475-4 when it was forced to stop play by rain on the second day of its third and final Test against South Africa.
Khawaja scored an unbeaten 195 from 368 balls. He also had 19 boundaries and a six. Khawaja shared an epic 209-run partnership earlier in the day with Steve Smith. Smith made his 30th Test century, becoming Australia’s fourth-highest test run scorer in front of his Sydney Cricket Ground fans.
Half-centuries were scored by Travis Head (70), Marnus Labuschagne (79) and Travis Head (77) as Australia defeated a calm South Africa attack. They placed themselves in a strong place to force a win in a game that had been plagued with bad light and rain delays.
Khawaja was able to raise his third consecutive SCG hundred just before lunch on Thursday. He then went over his previous highest score of 174 against New Zealand in Brisbane in 2015 to get close to his maiden double century.
Khawaja received a life of his own on 119 after he offered a sharp, shin-height opportunity which Anrich Nortje missed at the gully after losing vision of the ball.
Smith had earlier made 104 to join Matt Hayden, former Australia opening batter on 30 test centuries. Only Ricky Ponting (41) and Steve Waugh (32) have greater numbers among Australian men’s cricket players.
Smith was celebrating his fourth century on his home ground. He played from 190 balls and scored 11 boundaries. Smith received a standing ovation from the 27,663 SCG crowd.
Next, Smith caught a simple catch for Keshav Maharaj (1-108). This was the only flaw in an otherwise perfect four-hour innings.
Smith, who is currently fourth in the Australian test run scoring charts with 8,647 runs, passed Hayden (8.625 runs) & Michael Clarke (8.643) on the way to his latest win. Smith has an average of over 60 runs per innings in his 92 Tests.
Khawaja, who had just completed two centuries in triumphant test cricket against England, had previously scored his 13th century off 206 balls. Smith and he calmly added runs after the day’s resumption at 147-2.
After being dropped in the 2019 Ashes series, Khawaja scored 137 runs and 101 runs against England in this Test last year.
Khawaja and Head teamed up for a fast 112 run partnership, before Head hid out in deep off Rabada (1-112).
Australia team management informed that Matt Renshaw, the batter in the team for Cameron Green was feeling unwell just before play began Wednesday. He had previously reported feeling unwell and had received a positive COVID-19 test. However, he would still be participating in the match.
Renshaw was split from his team in the first test of 2018, and was moved to another room at the SCG. He batted as expected at No. He was six not out and was five at the end.
International Cricket Council regulations say Renshaw can play in the match so long as he feels well enough. If Renshaw was not able to play, he may substitute with a player of similar ability.
After two crushing defeats at Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in the first two Tests, Australia has now won the series.
Australia’s victory in the third Test would be a confirmation of its place in June’s World Test Championship final at Lord’s, England.