Khawaja nears double ton; Smith smashes 30th Test hundred
SYDNEY: Rain denied Usman Khawaja a maiden double century after a Steve Smith ton, but Australia was in complete command of the third Test against South Africa on Thursday, having made hay on a placid pitch for a second straight day.
Australia was 475 for four on Day Two when stumps came early at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with opener Khawaja on a career-high 195 not out (368 balls, 19 fours, 1 six) and newly minted No.6 Matt Renshaw on five after coming out of his COVID-19 segregation.
Khawaja continued his love affair with the SCG, where he reignited his international career last year with twin Ashes hundreds against England. “There are a lot of special feelings here,” Khawaja told Fox Sports as he came off for lunch. “I grew up just up the road… It is always an honour to score runs here.”
On a stop-start day blighted by the weather, Smith (104 off 192 balls, 11 fours, 2 sixes) also shone with his 30th Test hundred while Travis Head hammered a T20-style 70 from just 59 balls (8 fours, 1 six) to pile on the pain for the Proteas, whose hopes of a face-saving win were crushed under a mountain of runs.
Smith joined a group of 14 players with 30 Test centuries before left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj (1/108) had the No.4 caught and bowled, ending a 209-run third-wicket partnership with Khawaja. Smith left Don Bradman (29) behind and has only Steve Waugh (32) and Ricky Ponting (41) ahead of him among Australia’s most prolific century makers.
Khawaja, the third-highest scorer in Tests in 2022, raised his 13th Test century with a pull shot off Kagiso Rabada and a mad scramble for two runs. The southpaw offered only one clear chance in his unbeaten 368-ball knock, when he cut Rabada straight to point on 119. A startled Anrich Nortje misjudged the flight of the ball and it brushed past his leg on the way to the fence, the moment summing up South Africa’s day.
BRIEF SCORES: Australia 475/4 in 131 overs (U Khawaja 195*, S Smith 104, M Labuschagne 79, T Head 70) vs South Africa