Cricket Australia is facing renewed calls to move the New Year's Test away from Sydney after rain wreaked more havoc at the SCG on Friday. After 43 overs were lost due to rain and bad light on the opening day on Wednesday, the poor weather again brought an early halt to proceedings on Thursday and saw another 14 overs lost.
It got even worse on Friday with rain hammering down at the SCG and the entire day's play washed out. Australia's chances of winning the third Test against South Africa (which would secure their spot in the World Test Championship final) now appear very grim, with the Proteas yet to even bat in their first innings.
'CAN'T DO CR*P': Usman Khawaja fires back after Aussie legends hit out
The weather was so bad on Friday that all Jane McGrath Day festivities were postponed until Saturday. The Sydney Test turns pink every year to raise money and awareness for breast cancer - an initiative set up by Jane's wife and Aussie cricket legend Glenn.
The farcical scenes in Sydney have led to new calls for Cricket Australia to re-jig the Test summer schedule. According to ABC meteorologist Thomas Saunders, over the past eight years 64 per cent of days during the Sydney Test have been impacted by rain.
ABC analyst and statistician Ric Finlay also revealed that 25 days have been washed out as a result of rain in 110 Test matches at the SCG. In comparison, Perth has never had an entire day washed out in 47 Tests, while Hobart has had one (14 Tests) and Adelaide two (81 Tests).
Rain is so prevalent during Sydney Tests that they even sell advertising space on the covers.
Speaking last summer, late legend Shane Warne said Sydney should host the first Test of the summer when there traditionally isn't as much rain around. “It’s better weather then than it is in the first week of January,” he said. “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.
“I know Australia won’t want to lose that first Test match in Brisbane, but it hasn’t been that well attended the Brisbane Test match either. Whereas maybe Brisbane could be the New Year Test match and Sydney could be the first one.”
Cricket Australia boss won't be moving Sydney Test
But Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley has moved to hose down such 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,” he told SEN radio 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.”
Some have also asked why a roof can't be installed at the SCG. But Venues NSW chairman Tony Shepherd told CODE Sports that it's not even possible.
“A roof on the SCG is physically impossible because it’s an old stadium and you really need to reconstruct the whole stadium to make provision for a roof,” Shepherd said. “We’re so used to it given Sydney’s unpredictable weather. It’s not the end of the world.
“You just put up with it in Sydney, that’s the way it goes. We just put up with it, work around it.”
The rain has proven particularly frustrating for Usman Khawaja, who was 195 not out on Thursday before the weather caused an early stumps. Any call from Pat Cummins to declare Australia's first innings would likely only come after Khawaja reached his double century.
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