Usman Khawaja made his highest Check rating, Steve Smith scored a milestone century and Australia reached a commanding 475-4 when rain pressured an early finish to the second day of the third and ultimate Check towards South Africa.
Khawaja made an unbeaten 195 off 368 balls, with 19 boundaries and a six, and had earlier on Thursday shared an epic 209-run partnership with Smith, who made his thirtieth Check century and in addition turned Australia’s fourth-highest run scorer in assessments in entrance of his dwelling Sydney Cricket Floor followers.
Marnus Labuschagne (79) and Travis Head (70) each scored half-centuries as Australia dominated a placid South Africa assault and positioned itself in a powerful place to nonetheless drive a end in a recreation that has had frequent dangerous mild and rain delays.
Khawaja raised his third consecutive SCG hundred earlier than lunch after which pushed previous his earlier highest check rating of 174 — towards New Zealand at Brisbane in 2015 — to shut in on his maiden double-century.
Khawaja was given a life on 119 when he supplied a pointy shin-height likelihood which Anrich Nortje missed at gully after dropping sight of the ball.
Earlier, Smith made 104 to go previous Donaldo Bradman and be a part of former Australia opening batter Matthew Hayden on 30 check centuries. Solely Ricky Ponting (41) and Steve Waugh (32) have extra amongst Australian males’s check gamers.
It was Smith’s fourth century at his dwelling floor and got here from 190 balls, with 11 boundaries and two sixes with the previous captain receiving a chronic standing ovation from the 27,663 SCG crowd.
Subsequent over Smith chipped a easy return catch to Keshav Maharaj (1-108) in what was the one blemish in an in any other case flawless four-hour innings.
On the way in which to his newest ton Smith handed Hayden (8,625 runs) and Michael Clarke (8,643) for profession runs and is now the fourth-highest Australian check run-scorer with 8,647 runs, behind Ponting (13,378), Allan Border (11,174) and Waugh (10,927). Smith averages over 60 runs an innings throughout his 92 Assessments.
After twin centuries in a triumphant return to check cricket towards England final 12 months, Khawaja had earlier accomplished his thirteenth hundred off 206 balls, with 9 boundaries as he and Smith serenely gathered runs after resuming the day at 147-2.
Khawaja made 137 and 101 not out towards England within the Check right here final 12 months to firmly re-establish himself in Australia’s batting lineup after being dropped through the 2019 Ashes collection.
Khawaja and Head mixed for a brisk 112 run partnership earlier than Head holed out within the deep off Rabada (1-119).
Shortly after play commenced on Wednesday, Australia workforce administration suggested that batter Matt Renshaw — within the workforce for the injured Cameron Inexperienced — had reported feeling unwell shortly earlier than the match and had subsequently returned a optimistic check for COVID-19 however would nonetheless participate within the match.
Renshaw, in his first check since 2018, was separated from the rest of his teammates and moved into one other altering room on the SCG. He batted as anticipated at No. 6 and was 5 not out on the finish of the day’s play.
Worldwide Cricket Council laws state Renshaw is permitted to play within the match as lengthy he feels nicely sufficient, with the choice for a like-for-like substitute if he was unable to play.
Australia has already received the collection after two crushing victories within the first two Assessments at Brisbane and Melbourne.
A win for Australia on this third Check would verify its place within the World Check Championship ultimate to be performed at Lord’s in England in June this 12 months.