Australia's hopes raised of series sweep over South Africa
Australia had a glimpse of what appeared an unlikely victory and a series clean sweep as they took six of the 20 South African wickets they need after declaring their first innings at 475/4 on the fourth day of the rain-affected third and final Test.
Cummins took three wickets in a fearsome display of pace bowling under grey skies at the Sydney Cricket Ground, while Josh Hazlewood picked up two and Nathan Lyon claimed another, amongst a clutch of several near misses, as the Proteas were 149/6 at stumps on Saturday.
A win for Australia in this Test would also confirm their place in the World Test Championship final to be played at Lord’s in June.
After no play on Friday, further rain on Saturday morning meant play could not resume before lunch, effectively forcing Cummins’ hand into declaring. As a result, Usman Khawaja was left stranded on 195 not out so that the Australian bowlers had more time to bowl South Africa out twice to win the game.
“He (Khawaja) was fine. All the batters would be fine with a call like that,” Hazlewood said of Khawaja’s reaction to not having the chance of completing his first-ever double century.
“We’re obviously running out of overs as it is and it was sort of being talked about already, so he was fine with it.”
Cummins then showed why he’s ranked the world’s top Test bowler. He bowled a near-unplayable delivery which Kyle Verreynne (19) edged through to Steve Smith. The forecast is favourable for the final day’s play. And the frail Proteas batting lineup can certainly inspire more confidence in the Australians.