19/04/2024

Usman Khawaja punches the air upon reaching his 13th Test century. Image: Cricket Australia

Australia, headlined by centuries to Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith has continued to punish South Africa as rain continued to interrupt the New Year’s Pink Test at the SCG.

Resuming at 2/147, the pair of Smith and Khawaja combined for a 200-plus run partnership as the South African hearts sunk further on a tour of despair.

Smith passed the great Sir Donald Bradman’s tally of 29 Test centuries and moved further up various lists, adding to his prolific record in the game.

Here are the moments that mattered on Day Two at the SCG.

Belinda Clark AO honoured to commence Day Two

In a world first, the Australian cricket family gathered at the SCG on the morning of Day Two to immortalise and celebrate one of their own. The unveiling of the first-ever sculpture of a women’s cricketer anywhere in the world is a poignant and special moment.

Flanked by her family, friends, teammates, current-day players, and members of the public at the statue unveiling in the walk of honour in the members’ area of the Sydney Cricket Ground, Clark’s statue now sits alongside Fred Spofforth, Richie Benaud, Stan McCabe, and Steve Waugh.

“I’m excited to have the sculpture in place and for people to now look at it and perhaps wonder what that is, who that is and to be able to tell a bit of a story is really important,” Clark said. “The sculpture encapsulates being able to have a go, To be courageous, to take on those challenges and break convention.

“I want people to take away that you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it and you have good people around you, and I think I’ve been very fortunate to have had great support and have a bit of an imagination to take my game where I wanted to take it, and hopefully the sport is in a better place for it.”

Clark becomes the 15th member of the SCG sculpture project and the third female, joining champion sprinters Betty Cuthbert and Marlene Matthews who grace the front of Allianz Stadium. 

Australia skips ahead after minor delay to start

It took 12 minutes of play before the players were taken off the field due to rain on the second morning. It was a relatively short delay. When the players returned to the field, normal service resumed.

Steve Smith, who started his innings today after the premature finish yesterday, looked uncharacteristically scratchy and took a while to get into his grove, despite getting off the mark with a couple of boundaries. He was aided by some questionable field placements from Dean Elgar and some underwhelming spin bowling from Keshav Maharaj.

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A selection of drives through cover followed by a trademark pull shot set him on his way as he settled into his innings as he and Khawaja notched up a 50 partnership in no time at all.

Usman salutes at the SCG once more

Usman Khawaja loves the Sydney Cricket Ground. A lot.

After his grand return to Test cricket last year at the ground where he made twin centuries against England in the Ashes last year, he was back in the runs after a lean series to date. Bringing up his 13th Test century.

He met a back-of-a-length delivery from Kagiso Rabada which he cut through the gully to the boundary for four before seizing on a short delivery, pulling between deep square leg and long leg to make it back for two to bring up the milestone.

It’s Khawaja’s third century in as many innings at the SCG and his fourth at the ground of his 13 centuries.

Steve Smith brought up his half-century as he and Khawaja brought up a century stand as Australia made it to lunch unscathed at 2/266.

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Australia piles on more pain, Smith moves up lists, overtakes the Don

The sun came out after lunch for the first time this Test match as Australia continued to pile on the pain for the tourists.

Both Khawaja and Smith continued to punish the South African bowlers as Smith’s return to form summer continues as he continued to collect accolades as he has throughout his decorated career.

He passed 1,000 Test runs at the SCG, becoming just the sixth player to reach the milestone behind Ricky Ponting, Alan Border, Greg Chappell, David Boon, and Steve Waugh.

Smith then moved further up the list for most Test runs scored by an Australian male, overtaking both Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke, moving into fourth place overall on Australia’s all-time list.

He brought up his hundred with a trademark pull shot to the boundary for four, his 30th in Test cricket which saw him move past the great Sir Donald Bradman on the list of most Test centuries by an Australian

Usman Khawaja continued knocking the ball around at the other end as he raised his bat once more, reaching 150 runs as the Smith, Khawaja pairing brought up their 200-run partnership.

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Smith fell on the cusp of tea, drilling a return back to Keshav Maharaj, giving the South African spinner his first wicket of the series.

Australia keep their foot down as Usman passes his highest Test score

The light continued to fluctuate at the SCG as the players returned to the field to commence the final session, the Australians kept their foot firmly down on the pedal, chasing quick runs with an eye on a potential declaration.

Usman Khawaja moved past 174 to get to his new-highest test score with a hook shot past the wicketkeeper for four. While at the other end, Travis Head was doing what Travis Head has been doing all summer. Scoring runs rapidly.

He, for the fifth time in as many tests this summer, raised his bat passing 50, as he took over Australia’s assault on the South African bowlers.

The pair brought up their 100-run partnership off 111 balls, upping the scoring rate rapidly as the weather closed in.

Head departed for 70,  Well caught on the boundary by sub-fielder Rassie van der Dussen off Kagiso Rabada at deep square leg.

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The wicket brought the returning Matthew Renshaw to the crease, who took no time getting off the mark, hooking past the diving wicketkeeper for four.

The umpires called for a drinks break to assess the condition of the ball and by the time play was set to resume, the rain arrived once more which spelled the end of play for the day.

Australia will resume tomorrow on Jane McGrath Day with Usman Khawaja eyeing off his first Test double century.

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