Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith make history at the SCG as South Africa are dismantled

Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith put on a batting clinic on day two of the third and final Test between Australia and South Africa, where the visitors could have been forgiven for constantly praying for a deluge of rain to wash away the day’s play as the hosts finished on 4/475.  

The threatening storm clouds finally did burst over the SCG bringing a premature end to the action. But not before Khawaja cruised to an unbeaten 195, Smith inched himself ahead of Sir Don Bradman in the all-time Aussie rankings for Test centuries and Travis Head rubbed salt into the wound with a blistering knock to grind the Proteas even further into the mire.

South Africa’s bowlers are punished as Khawaja and Smith run riot 

It felt like a strong dose of déjà vu was being administered on the second morning of the match when no sooner had the players arrived out onto the field, they were sent back to the pavilion.

MORE: Australia manage to edge ahead against South Africa despite frustrating opening day

The scenes were reminiscent of the opening day when any sense of momentum was halted due to bad lighting that had left many in the cricket world disgruntled. 

The Aussie batters had occupied the crease for all of 10 minutes before the ground staff raced out with the covers. Unfortunately for the South Africans that was the only reprieve they were given, as the Aussie batsman soon set about dismantling the bowling line-up.

In truth, there was little Dean Elgar could do to stem the tide, but his puzzling captaincy calls continued as he elected to bowl 10 consecutive overs of pace to start the session. This despite the big men barely troubling Smith or Khawaja.  

Keshav Maharaj was eventually brought on with Simon Harmer once again overlooked until he was thrown the Kookaburra an hour or so into the day. His first over almost resulting in a wicket as Smith came close to being dismissed after slipping during an attempted single.  

“He [Elgar] should have had Steve Smith out,” Mark Waugh declared on Fox Cricket. “If he had mid-off up, he’s out.”

“I really think they’ve missed a trick by not using him more,” Allan Border added after Harmer’s instant impact.   

Although that was as close as the visitors came in a thoroughly disheartening session as Smith began to target Maharaj. 

As soon as the boundaries started flowing, the two spinners were instantly removed from the attack as Elgar tried to stem the bleeding.

“I’m just looking at South Africa and they’ve taken 10 [wickets] for about 805 from Melbourne to here,” Waugh said as Australia eased to 2/229.

“You talk about their batting, but the bowling has been defective!”

Khawaja continues his golden run at the SCG while Smith writes his name into history 

Khawaja struck his third consecutive century at the SCG, becoming only the second Aussie to do so after Doug Walters.

It was the 13th ton of his Test career and continued his remarkable revival after being recalled into the team last year.

Five balls later, Smith claimed his first half century of the series as the pair brought up their 100-run partnership.

“This is ominous,” Ian Smith correctly predicted.

“We’re approaching lunch here on day two and if you’re in the South African camp, you’re starting to look at the scoreboard with these two players and thinking…how the heck are we going to get these two people out?”

Simply put, they couldn’t until it was far too late, and the game had already passed them by.

The duo posted 119 runs without loss in the first session before producing another 128 runs in the next for the loss of just one wicket.

Before Smith fell though he recorded his 30th Test century and in doing so surpassed Bradman in the rankings. Remarkably, only Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting remain ahead of him now.

Smith brought it up with a pull shot cracked away behind square from a short ball which was indicative of the South Africa’s inability to ever find the right line or length to trouble the prolific batsman.  

However, the crowd was quickly silenced after the sugar rush of Smith’s historic moment, when he became Maharaj’s first scalp of the series.

Smith and Khawaja’s epic 209-run partnership finally being brought to an end as the No.4 trudged off unhappily despite his impressive knock.

Dean Elgar facing unwanted record as captain

Although if the visitors thought their torment was over, they were sadly mistaken with Head – who is now averaging over 100 this summer – blasting his way to yet another half-century as Elgar watched on from afar.

“I’m looking at the field setting for a new batsman, and I am speechless,” Waugh said.

“They’ve got mid-off and mid-on back and backward point back for Travis Head who has just come to the crease.

“The pitch is holding a fraction- they’ve all got to be up inside the circle, don’t they? No wonder the score is three for 370.”

As ball after ball was dispatched to the rope, Elgar was pictured in a world of pain; no doubt left to contemplate how he could become the first South African captain to be whitewashed in Australia for more than two decades.

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