Australia will return to the crease on day four of the New Year’s Test at the SCG after play was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

A rain affected Test could prove to be a blessing in disguise for the visiting South Africans and keep the Australian’s from claiming a 3-0 series whitewash.

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Usman Khawaja needs only five runs to score his first ever Test double century as he helped the Aussies climb towards 4-475.

It leaves a conundrum as to whether Australia will declare overnight to maximise the time to take the 20 South African wickets or allow Khawaja a chance at the milestone.

Cricket fans were left cursing the gods after Khawaja was left stranded overnight on a day when Steve Smith passed Donald Bradman’s century tally as he brought up his 30th Test hundred.

Travis Head also brought the entertainment with a 58-ball 70 before he was sensationally caught on the boundary.

4.10pm — Stumps called

The day has been washed out at the SCG without a ball being bowled.

Hopefully the weather will disappear and there’ll be some cricket tomorrow.

It now marks the 26th day a full day’s play has been washed out at the SCG.

2.20pm — Damning tweet lays Warney truth bare

There’s not much to write about today with the rain set in the covers set to stay on for the remainder of the day.

But as we head towards a 26th full day being washed out the SCG, it’s hard not to think of Shane Warne, who long called for Sydney to get a match at the start of the summer, rather than in the middle of the wet season over the new year.

The stats are damning with cricket statistician Ric Finlay posting the damning stats of days washed out in Australia, with the SCG having nearly three times the next worst — which is Melbourne — in days washed out.

It’s even more than Manchester, which has also included two abandoned Tests.

On Monday when bad light and rain conspired against the cricket throughout the day, Warne was again remembered.

The great man long grumbled about the rain in Sydney, tweeting in 2017: “You know Sydney has the most overrated weather in the country & the most rain too H #Fact !!”

Last year, Warne was again frustrated.

“It’s better weather then than it is in the first week of January,” Warne said on Fox Cricket at the time.

“It just seems to always rain in the Test match. It’s such a beautiful venue, such a beautiful city that imagine if the tourists, and any opposition team, came here to Sydney and had 10 days on the harbour and loosening up, getting ready and then play the first Test in Sydney rather than the fourth Test always in the New Year, maybe it’s time for a change.”

While the thought is starting to get some traction, Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley shut down calls.

“It’s an iconic event on the sporting calendar, people plan their entire holidays around it. We saw over 30,000 people come out yesterday,” Hockley told SEN on Thursday.

“Particularly now with the pink Test in its 15th year and the positive impact. There is so much going on around the ground but obviously we all want to see as much play as possible.”

1pm — Scratch that, the rains are back

Just when it looked promising, the heavens opened back up and the rain got even heavier than it was coming down this morning.

It’s going to be a long shot if play gets underway anytime soon.

12pm — The covers are off

Believe it or not the clouds have cleared and the covers are coming off at the SCG. With lunch generally taken at 12:30pm, fans are pleading for the break to be taken early and as soon as the ground is ready to go for players to be ready.

More showers are expected to hit in the afternoon so there may only be a brief window to get some overs in on the day.

9:30am – Weather forecast paints grim picture

Australia’s hopes of a series whitewash are hanging in the balance with the rain clouds looming to be a giant factor in Sydney.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney has an 80 per cent chance of rainfall with windy and rainy conditions forecast throughout the day.

It comes after the opening two days were heavily affected by the weather.

Play is meant to get underway at 10am (AEDT), however the heavy covers remain on the pitch at the SCG with the radar not providing plenty of optimism.

9am – Steve Smith’s shock retirement hint

After surpassing Donald Bradman when he registered his 30th Test century, Steve Smith has left fans speechless by hinting at his retirement from the game.

Speaking after the second day of the third Test, Smith said he wasn’t sure if he’d play another Test match in Australia in moment of raw honesty.

Smith was heaping praise on 36-year-old Usman Khawaja’s stunning longevity when he was asked whether he’d be in Australia for future cricketing summers.

“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Smith said.

“I’m enjoying it at the moment. I really can’t say how long I’ll play for. I’m not sure.

“Take it one tour at a time. Just enjoy it and enjoy training and trying to get better as well.

“Whilst I’m doing that I’m happy playing. But I don’t know how long it’ll last.”

Smith has previously flagged the potential of retiring earlier from the sport than most would expect.

“No, I don’t have a plan, but I’m 33 now,” he told The Daily Telegraph in November.

“I’ve been playing international cricket for 13 years. It’s a long time. I’m still enjoying it, but I’m certainly closer to the end than the start, that’s for sure.”

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