With a magnificent pull shot from Anrich Nortje to the boundary lines to claim a home-town hundred off 190 balls, Steve Smith broke Don Bradman’s record of 29 Test hundreds.
In the third Sydney Test, Usman Khawaja and Australia added to the misery for the struggling South Africans by defeating Steven Smith, who on Thursday overtook Don Bradman’s record to score his 30th Test century. With a magnificent pull shot off Anrich Nortje to the boundary lines to win a home-town hundred off 190 balls, Smith overtook Bradman’s 29 Test hundreds. When he innocently chipped back a catch to Keshav Maharaj for the left-arm spinner’s first wicket of the series, he was out two balls later on 104.
At tea on day two, Khawaja had advanced with his 13th Test century to be unstoppable on 172 and Travis Head was on 17, giving Australia a strong lead at 394 for three.
Along the way, Smith passed Michael Clarke to rank fourth among Australian Test run scorers with 8,647 runs, trailing only Steve Waugh, Allan Border, and Ricky Ponting.
Only Ponting (41) and Waugh (32) have made more Test century for Australia than Smith, who currently has a Test average of 60.89 in his 92nd Test match and is second only to the legendary Bradman (99.94).
At the break, Khawaja had faced 335 balls in 477 minutes and had hit 17 fours and a six as he aggressively continued to work toward his third successive Sydney Test hundred.
Smith and Khawaja combined for a 209-run third wicket partnership.
At his most prolific ground, where he averaged 98 before this Test, Khawaja conducted a jubilant jig before lunch after smashing Kagiso Rabada for two through deep square to bring up another hundred.
In the same Sydney Test last year, it came after two centuries against England.
It’s always an honour to get runs here, said Khawaja. “I grew up here just up the road and my family is here watching, I have friends out in the audience.”
The first innings runs will be essential since the surface is sluggish and will break up if the weather remains favourable.
At the renowned Sydney Cricket Ground, only Wally Hammond of England, Doug Walters of Australia, and VVS Laxman of India have amassed three straight test centuries.
After crushing the Proteas by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne, following their six-wicket thrashing in the opener in Brisbane inside two days, the Australians have already won the three-match series.
The Australians have scored 1,222 runs for the loss of 25 wickets thus far in this lopsided three-Test series, with an average of 48.9. In contrast, South Africa has 644 runs at 16.1 with 40 wickets lost.
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Australia is aiming to secure a spot in the ICC World Test Championship final in London in June in addition to sweeping the series.