The first day of the 3rd Test match between Australia and South Africa was a rain-curtailed affair played at Sydney Cricket Ground, SCG on 4 January 2023.
Australian captain Pat Cummins won the toss and decided to bat first. It was not an ideal start for the hosts an early wicket of David Warner as Marco Jansen took a sharp catch at the slips. Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja steadied the ship for Australia putting pressure on the inexperienced South African bowling line-up. Both Australian batters ended the first session at 68 for 1.
After the lunch break, Labuschagne and Khawaja looked in steady touch hitting the bad deliveries away for boundaries. Labuschagne reached half-century off 102 balls while Khawaja completed fifty off 113 balls to put Australia in a good position. Labuschagne survived a controversial catch as the soft signal was out, but the third umpire called it not out on the frustration of South African bowlers and fielders.
The play was stopped due to bad light as Australia ended at 138 for 1. After the resumption of play, Labuschagne and Khawaja looked impressive before Nortje produced a beauty to dismiss Labuschagne with a simple catch to Verryne that meant to be the last ball of day 1. The South African speedster jumped for joy ending a strong partnership.
Watch the stunning delivery of Anrich Nortje:
Labuschagne and Khawaja added 135 runs for the 2nd wicket. The umpires called off play due to bad light as Australia ended day 1 of the 2nd Test match at 147 for 2.
Usman Khawaja remained not out on 54 off 121 balls with 6 fours while Labuschagne made 79 off 151 balls with 13 fours. South Africa looked ordinary as Nortje was the pick of the bowlers taking 2 for 26 in 11 overs. Simon Harmer was included in the playing XI as the second spinner along with Keshav Maharaj.
Josh Hazlewood makes a return to the playing XI while Matt Renshaw replaces Cameron Green for this Test match. Australia would be looking as Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, and the rest of the batters could post a huge total and put pressure on the inexperienced South African batting line-up.