Cricket fans are once again cursing the gods after Usman Khawaja was left stranded overnight on 195 not out just shy of what would be his first Test double century.
Khawaja has dominated on day two which was occasionally interrupted by rain once again, cruising past his previous high score of 174 to just shy of a Test double hundred.
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It was much to the chagrin of the 27,000 strong crowd who had already had a brilliant day.
Not only had Khawaja hit his third century in successive innings, joining Wally Hammond, Doug Walters and VVS Laxman as the only players to score three consecutive centuries at the SCG, but Steve Smith passed Donald Bradman’s century tally as he brought up his 30th Test hundred.
Travis Head also brought the entertainment with a 58-ball 70 before he was sensationally caught on the boundary.
Australia resumed at 2/147 after bad light and rain brought an early end to an extremely frustrating opening day’s play that had fans and players fuming.
It finished the day 4/475 with thought now turning to when the side will declare with rain expected throughout the remainder of the match.
4.48pm — Matt Renshaw is back in Test cricket
Matt Renshaw has faced his first ball back in Test cricket, clipping the ball to the boundary at fine leg.
Renshaw’s last Test was in 2018 so it’s a good start after the best part of two days sitting on the boundary line after contracting Covid on the eve of the Test.
Travis Head was out for a 58-ball 70 caught on the boundary.
3.40pm — It’s tea and the covers are on
Australia are well on top here with a big decision over whether Pat Cummins should declare or not today as more weather is expected on Day 3.
The covers are back on during the break but it doesn’t look like there’s too much of it at the SCG.
Australia are 3/394, Usman Khawaja 172 and Travis Head 17 still at the crease.
2.51pm – Smith surpasses Bradman with 30th ton
Steve Smith has brought up his 30th Test match century with a terrific knock on Day 2.
The Aussie batsman surpassed the great Donald Bradman as he brought up the milestone, and he did it with a fantastic pull shot after the South Africans brought up the field and forced him to hit over the top to secure his century.
Smith’s 30th Test hundred, which came in just his 90th match, brought him alongside Matthew Hayden on 30 centuries for Australia, and two centuries shy of Steve Waugh’s career mark.
Ricky Ponting sits at the top of the century list with an incredible 41 for his country.
Just a couple of balls later Smith was out caught-and-bowled to spinner Keshav Maharaj, finishing with 104 runs off 192 balls.
12.15pm – Khawaja brings up ton
Usman Khawaja has continued his SCG love affair, bringing up his third century in a row at the ground after he saluted with two hundreds in last year’s New Year’s Test.
He joins Wally Hammond, Doug Walters and VVS Laxman as the only players to score three consecutive centuries at the SCG.
Only Ricky Ponting has scored most hundreds at the SCG.
Khawaja has been a revelation since returning to the Australian side and has now scored 13 Test centuries.
The 36-year-old opener celebrated reaching three figures with trademark dance after sprinting up and down the pitch to get the two runs he needed.
Steve Smith brought up his fifty soon after and the pair are scoring with ease.
11.20am – Aussies put the foot down
After coming on and off for light rain, Khawaja and Smith upped the ante against South African’s bowlers once play got underway.
Ticking the score over easily, Khawaja is unbeaten on 84 and inching closer to a century as Australia pass the 200-mark.
10am – Aussie legend’s historic new statue unveiled
Australian cricket legend Belinda Clark has become the world’s first female cricketer to be honoured with a statue.
The bronze statue was unveiled at the SCG on Thursday and Clark was on hand to see herself immortalised.
The former Australian captain scored seven centuries across Tests and ODIs and became the first player, man or woman, to score a double century in an ODI.
Clark led Australian to two ODI World Cup triumphs. The Belinda Clark Award, given to the standout female Aussie cricketer of the season, is named after her.
Marnus adamant he wasn’t out
It was a frustrating day 1 for Marnus Labuschagne, who appeared on track for another Test century before an absolute peach from Anrich Nortjie caught his outside edge.
Bad light forced the players off straight after his dismissal, which turned out to be the very last ball of the day.
Earlier, Labuschagne was given a reprieve when the third umpire ruled his edge to Simon Harmer at slip off Marco Jansen didn’t quite carry.
Labuschagne is adamant his controversial escape was the right call, but the South Africans disagree.
Secret footage suggested Labuschagne should have been given out — camera angles not able to be accessed by TV umpire Richard Kettleborough showed that Harmer appeared to have his fingers under the ball.
But asked if he was out Labuschagne responded: “No, clearly not. I was still batting. It was just one of those ones. If there’s no TV, I’m walking. That’s how the game works.
“With the amount of slow motion footage you see, you see his fingers push and split open. According to the technicality, some of the ball is touching the grass regardless of whether his fingers are under it or not.
“It’s just hard because back in the day, or even before we had this technology and camera work, they’d send you packing.’’
South African bowler Anrich Nortje disagreed.
“All of us thought it was out,’’ he said.
“Simon was convinced it went straight in. I think when you look at the front on (vision), when you look at the angles, to us it looks like the fingers are underneath it.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get that one. I think it would have been a big one at that stage. We were convinced it’s out.”