As Usman Khawaja and Australia heaped on the misery for the struggling South Africans in the third test match in Sydney, Steven Smith achieved his 30th Test century, surpassing a Don Bradman landmark in the process. South Africa is currently trailing in all three tests.
Smith scored a hundred off 190 balls to surpass Bradman’s record of 29 test hundreds with a magnificent pull shot to the boundary ropes off Anrich Nortje. Smith was batting in his home town.
Two balls later, when he was on 104, he innocently chipped back a catch to Keshav Maharaj, which resulted in the left-arm spinner claiming his first wicket of the series.
Khawaja had pushed on with his 13th Test century to be unconquered on 172 by the time tea was served on day two. Travis Head was also unconquered on 17, putting Australia in firm control of the match at 394 for three.
Along the way, Smith also passed Michael Clarke to become Australia’s fourth-highest run-getter in test matches with a total of 8,647 runs, trailing only Ricky Ponting, Allan Border, and Steve Waugh.
Smith is currently second only to the great Don Bradman (99.94) in terms of his Test batting average with 60.89 runs scored in his 92nd match for Australia in the Test format. Only Ponting (41) and Waugh (32) have scored more century for Australia in the Test format than Smith.
During this time, Khawaja was steadily adding to his score as he approached his third hundred in a row at the Sydney Test. At the interval, he had faced 335 balls, played for 477 minutes, and hit 17 fours and a six.
Khawaja and Smith combined for a stand of 209 runs while batting for the third wicket.
After smashing Kagiso Rabada for two through deep square to bring up another hundred at his most productive venue, where he averaged 98 before this Test, Khawaja did a happy jig before lunch. He did this after bringing up another hundred.
It was a continuation of the centuries scored against England in the previous year’s equivalent test in Sydney.
It is always an honour to score runs here, according to Khawaja, who grew up just up the road from the stadium. “My family is here watching, and I have friends out in the audience,” he said.
“The wicket seems slow, but if the weather stays nice, it will absolutely break up, and scoring runs early on in the game will be really important.”
At the illustrious Sydney Cricket Ground, only Wally Hammond of England, Doug Walters of Australia, and VVS Laxman of India have achieved the feat of scoring three consecutive century in a Test match.
After thrashing the Proteas by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne, the Australians have already won the three-match series they were playing. This victory comes on the heels of their six-wicket victory in the first match, which was completed in just two days in Brisbane.
During the first three matches of this lopsided series, the Australians have scored a total of 1,222 runs while losing 25 wickets, which results in a run average of 48.9 per wicket. In contrast, South Africa currently has 644 runs despite having lost 40 wickets and are at the 16.1-run mark.
In addition to their goal of sweeping the series, Australia’s primary objective is to secure a spot in the ICC World Test Championship final, which will take place in London in June.