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Australia vs South Africa, 3rd Test Day 1: Australia 147-2 on rain-hit day

Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja both scored fifties to put Australia in a commanding position in the third Test against South Africa
Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja both scored fifties to put Australia in a commanding position in the third Test against South Africa

South African bowler Anrich Nortje took the crucial wickets of David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne, disrupting Australia's dominance in the 1st day of the third Test in Sydney. The opening day was also disrupted by rain.

Match Summary

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd Test, South Africa tour of Australia

Australia *147/2 (47 ov)

South Africa

Day Break : Day 1 Australia won the toss and elected to bat


Nortje was the standout performer for South Africa, dismissing Warner cheaply for 10 and later preventing Labuschagne (79) from scoring his 11th Test century.

Due to poor lighting and rain, the first day of the Test match was cut short. At that point, Australia was at 147 for two, with Usman Khawaja (who has an average of 98 in Tests played in Sydney) not out on 54 and Steven Smith yet to score.

Nortje made a significant impact by taking the  edge of Labuschagne's bat and dismissing him caught behind after a 151-ball stay.

Earlier, Nortje made a strong impact in his second over when he dismissed Warner (who scored a double century in the Melbourne Test) for 10, caught at slip by Marco Jansen.

As soon as Smith arrived at the wicket after Labuschagne's dismissal, the players had to leave the field due to poor lighting for the final time.

It is the sixth Sydney Test out of the past seven to be affected by rain.

There was a controversial moment earlier in Labuschagne's innings when he was on 70 and edged Jansen to Harmer at slip.

The on-field umpires referred the decision to the third umpire (Richard Kettleborough) with a soft signal of out, but Kettleborough ruled that the ball had touched the ground between Harmer's fingers.

Khawaja also narrowly avoided dismissal on 25 shortly after lunch when he reverse-swept Harmer and was given out leg before wicket, but replays showed that the ball had actually touched his glove.

The opening day was also marked by the return of Matt Renshaw to the Australian Test team for the first time since April 2018, but unfortunately he returned a positive Covid-19 test after the toss and team composition were confirmed.

However, team officials stated that Renshaw would continue to play in the match, as his symptoms were only described as mild.

To prevent potential spread of the virus, Renshaw was transferred to a separate dressing room from his teammates where he will prepare for the remainder of the match. He spent most of the playtime sitting away from the team runners near the Australian dug-out.

Skipper Pat Cummins won his fifth consecutive toss and chose to play an extra spinner (left-armer Ashton Agar) and bring in Renshaw to strengthen the batting, at the expense of in-form paceman Scott Boland, on a dry and cracking pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

South Africa also made similar changes, replacing fast bowler Lungi Ngidi with off-spinner Harmer and replacing Theunis de Bruyn at number three with Heinrich Klaasen.

In addition to aiming for a series sweep, Australia is also hoping to secure a spot in the ICC World Test Championship final in London in June. While South Africa still has an outside chance of achieving this, they must first cause an upset in Sydney.

Australia has already secured the three-match series, having soundly defeated South Africa by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne following a six-wicket victory in the opener in Brisbane in just two days.

Match Stats

Australia Fall of wickets: 1-12 (David Warner - 3.4 ov), 2-147 (Marnus Labuschagne - 46.6 ov)

South Africa

Playing XIs

Australia: Alex Carey (WK), Steven Smith, David Warner,, Marnus Labuschagne, Usman Khawaja, Matt Renshaw, Travis Head, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

South Africa: Kyle Verreynne (WK), Heinrich Klaasen, Dean Elgar, Temba Bavuma, Khaya Zondo, Sarel Erwee, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Simon Harmer

Match Details:

Date: Tuesday, January 3, 2023 23:30

Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

TossAustralia won the toss & elected to bat

Officials Umpires: Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand) Paul Reiffel (Australia) Richard Kettleborough (England TV)

Match Referee: Richie Richardson (West Indies)

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