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Scott Bailey

Weather slows Australia's charge at SCG

Marnus Labuschagne survived a scare to be 73 not out when poor light stopped play at the SCG. (David Neilson/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Sydney's traditional poor Test weather has stalled Australia's charge at the SCG, with bad light stopping play midway through day one with the hosts 1-138 in the third Test against South Africa.

With Marnus Labuschagne on track for his fourth century of the summer on 73 not out, umpires pulled players from the field an hour into the second session under grey skies and an early tea was called.

Rain and storms were forecast in Sydney for Wednesday afternoon, with the early delay due to light bringing into question how much more play would be available on day one.

Forty-three overs into the Test, it already appears likely that weather could present the biggest hurdle for the hosts as they push for guaranteed qualification in the World Test Championship final with a win.

Poor weather has now impacted six of the last seven Tests at the SCG, with further rain forecast later in the week.

Labuschagne looked in impeccable touch, pulling and cutting his way past 50 as part of a 126-run stand with Usman Khawaja (51no).

After being patient in the first session, Labuschagne added 42 in his 53 balls after lunch as he took to Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj.

His only scare came on 70 when he edged a ball off Marco Jensen and was given out on soft signal, before third-umpire Richard Kettleborough deemed the ball had bounced before reaching Simon Harmer.

Usman Khawaja has helped Australia to 1-68 at lunch in the third Test. (David Neilson/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

South Africa were left furious and remonstrated with umpire Chris Gaffaney and Labuschagne, with the latter adamant the ball had bounced.

At the other end, Khawaja became the 27th Australian to pass 4000 Test runs as he continued on his merry way at the SCG.

Now averaging more than 100 at the ground, he pulled the ball nicely and drove neatly through the covers.

Earlier, David Warner was the only Australian to fall when he edged Anrich Nortje to first slip on 10 as he chased a wide delivery.

Already up 2-0 in the three-Test series, Australia have had more difficulty off the field with Matt Renshaw testing positive to COVID-19.

Recalled to the Test team on Wednesday morning after four years out, the Queenslander reported feeling unwell before the start of play.

He has since kept his distance from teammates, but at this stage plans to continue in the Test while batting at No.6.

Peter Handscomb has been listed as an emergency fielder for the match, with he and Marcus Harris possible options to replace Renshaw under ICC rules if he is too unwell.

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