SA vs AUS, Lunch break update: Australia has brought the dismal and damp third NRMA Insurance Test match at the SCG back to life, tearing through South Africa’s top order to leave the visitors 3-71 at tea on day four.
Following the cancellation of day three on Friday and the first part of Saturday, Australia declared their innings at 4-475 on the resumption, with Usman Khawaja undefeated on 195. That left Australia with the task of getting 20 wickets in the remaining 157 overs of the match in order to win the series 3-0.
A victory for Australia would also secure a place in the World Test Championship final in June, an objective they have had since the beginning of the season. The first aim will be to remove South Africa in their first innings for 275 or less, enabling the hosts to enforce the follow-on and go for the victory.
SA vs AUS, Australia’s bowlers had given them every opportunity by tea.
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Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Nathan Lyon all took wickets in the 130-minute session, as the visitors continued to struggle with the bat. Hazlewood got Dean Elgar caught behind with a well-placed bouncer that took the South Africa captain’s glove on 15 in his first game back from a side strain.
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Elgar had previously prevailed against an appeal for a diving Steve Smith catch in the slips, with third umpire Richard Kettleborough ruling that the ball had touched the turf. Lyon’s dismissal of Sarel Erwee (18) was the pick of the bunch, as it went straight on and grazed the outside of the left-off-hander’s stump as he chose to go.
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In the following over, Cummins had Heinrich Klaasen caught behind down legside for two, giving the hosts a serious chance of winning despite the time lost due to rain. Saturday’s restart was postponed as water poured onto the pitch square, necessitating the replacement of part turf while more rain added to the delay.