Usman Khawaja was stuck just short of a premier two-hundred as rain interrupted Australia’s run spree against South Africa during Thursday’s third Test in Sydney.
Khawaja scored an impressive unbeaten 195 – his greatest Test score – while Steven Smith surpassed Don Bradman’s century milestone with his 30th hundred. The Australians had already won the series.
Australia were 475 for four and Matt Renshaw, who tested positive for Covid-19 at the beginning of the match, was not out at the end of the second day due to rain.
On yet another demoralizing day for the Proteas, the runs kept coming.
Khawaja and Smith shared a 209-run stand, and Travis Head drove home the advantage with a scorching 70 off 59 balls, leaving the visitors again facing an uphill battle to avoid a series whitewash.
Khawaja topped his previous best score of 174, recorded in Brisbane against New Zealand in 2015.
Smith surpassed Bradman’s 29 Test centuries with a magnificent pull shot off Anrich Nortje to the boundary ropes, scoring a local hundred off 190 deliveries.
Two balls later, he was dismissed for 104 when he innocently chipped a catch to Keshav Maharaj for the left-arm spinner’s first scalp of the series.
Along the way, Smith surpassed Michael Clarke to become Australia’s fourth-highest run scorer in Tests with 8,647 runs, below Ricky Ponting, Allan Border, and Steve Waugh.
Smith is second only to the great Bradman (99.94) with a current Test batting average of 60.89 in his 92nd Test match. Only Ponting (41) and Waugh (32) have achieved more Test century for Australia.
When rain halted play with 14 overs remaining, Khawaja had faced 368 balls and hit 19 fours and sixes while having faced a total of 368 balls.
Before noon, Khawaja executed a jubilant jig after nicking Kagiso Rabada for two through deep square to complete another hundred at his most fruitful ground, where he averaged 98 prior to this Test.
Australia has concluded the series.
It followed two centuries against England in the same Sydney Test from the previous year.
It’s always an honor to score runs here, according to Khawaja, who grew up nearby. “My family and friends are in the crowd, and it’s a privilege to score runs here,” he added.
“It’s a slow pitch, and if the weather is favorable, it will absolutely break up; first innings runs will be key.”
At the renowned Sydney Cricket Ground, only England’s Wally Hammond, Australia’s Doug Walters, and India’s VVS Laxman have achieved three consecutive Test hundreds.
Before being superbly caught on the ropes by substitute fielder Rassie van der Dussen off Rabada, Head scored a typically brash fifty.
The Australians have already won the three-match series after crushing the Proteas by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne, after their two-day six-wicket victory in the series opener in Brisbane.
In this lopsided three-Test series, the Australians have scored 1,303 runs while losing 26 wickets, for an average of 50 runs per wicket. South Africa, in contrast, has 644 runs with 40 wickets lost at 16.1 overs.
In addition to pursuing a series whitewash, Australia is vying for a spot in the June final of the ICC World Test Championship in London.
David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Renshaw, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (captain), Nathan Lyon, and Josh Hazlewood comprise the Australian cricket team’s batting lineup.
African nation of South Africa
Dean Elgar (captain), Sarel Erwee, Heinrich Klaasen, Temba Bavuma, Khaya Zondo, Kyle Verreynne, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Simon Harmer, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje
Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand) and Paul Reiffel (AUS)
Television arbitrator: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
Richie Richardson acts as the referee (WIS)
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