Law of averages suggests Proteas draw is due, rain makes it more likely

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The Sydney Cricket Ground was inundated by rain on Friday, washing out play on the third day of the third Test between the Proteas and Australia. PHOTO: David Gray/AFP

The law of averages suggests South Africa are due a draw in Test match cricket, and that likelihood became stronger on Friday as the entire third day’s play in the third Test against Australia in Sydney was washed out.

The last time the Proteas were involved in a Test that did not have a winner and loser was way back in March 2017, 47 matches ago, when rain washed out the final day’s play against New Zealand in Hamilton with South Africa five wickets down in their second innings and still trailing by 95 runs.

The weather is predicted to improve over the last two days in Sydney though, and the Proteas are going to have to bat the better part of 196 overs to save the game, with Australia having already posted 475/4. That means, if the home side declare overnight, South Africa’s initial target will be 276 to avoid being forced to follow-on, which is surely Australia’s best chance of victory. The Proteas have failed to reach that mark in their last eight innings.

The fact that Australian opener Usman Khawaja is on 195 not out may buy the Proteas some more time if Australian skipper Pat Cummins is feeling sentimental and delays the declaration in order for the 36-year-old batsman to get his maiden Test double-century.

Cummins will also be mindful that he has an unusually under-strength attack at his disposal, with just four frontline bowlers, only two of which are pacemen.

Ken Borland/The Citizen