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Australia vs South Africa, 3rd Test, Day 3 Khawaja Conundrum created by washout in Sydney Test for Australia

Ground staff stand near covers placed over the pitch as rain washed out the third day of the Sydney Test
Ground staff stand near covers placed over the pitch as rain washed out the third day of the Sydney Test

Due to the rain, the entire third day of the final Sydney Test was cancelled on Friday, causing a reassessment of Australia's chances of achieving a series sweep over South Africa.

Match Summary

Australia *475/4 (131 ov)

South Africa

Day Break : Day 3 Australia won the toss and elected to bat


As the captain, Pat Cummins has a choice to make before the start of the fourth day on Saturday: whether to declare Australia's first innings at 475 for four and have South Africa come in to bat, or to allow Usman Khawaja the opportunity to score his first double century in a Test match.

Khawaja was stuck on 195, his highest Test score, when play was stopped due to rain on Thursday. Matt Renshaw, who tested positive for Covid-19 at the beginning of the match, was five not out.

The condition of the Sydney Cricket Ground pitch after three days of rain interruptions will also be a deciding factor.

The frequent rain and covering of the wicket has helped to preserve it, preventing it from drying out and breaking down due to wear and tear, which benefits Australia's two selected spinners, Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar.

Australia's decision to only select two frontline pacemen, Josh Hazlewood and Cummins, for the match may make their task more difficult if the pitch does not provide as much support for spin bowling as they had initially planned.

Australia is also striving for a series sweep in order to secure a spot in the World Test Championship final in London in June.

South Africa is naturally less concerned about the weather as they try to avoid the embarrassment of a 3-0 defeat.

South Africa is not as concerned about the weather, as they try to avoid being beaten 3-0 in the series.

"In the position we are in, the more time that is taken out of the game is probably more in our favour," spinner Keshav Maharaj said on Thursday's second day after rain brought South Africa some badly needed respite.

But it also puts Australia in a position where they have to make a play from here on in."

Improved weather conditions with less rain are forecast for Saturday, with sunny conditions expected on the final day of the match on Sunday.

Australia has a 2-0 lead in the series after decisively winning the opening Test in Brisbane by six wickets in just two days, and then easily defeating South Africa by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne.

Match Stats

Australia Fall of wickets: 1-12 (David Warner - 3.4 ov), 2-147 (Marnus Labuschagne - 46.6 ov), 3-356 (Steven Smith - 109.1 ov), 4-468 (Travis Head - 128.3 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

Toss: Australia 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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