The World Test Championship final will take place at The Oval between June 7 and 11, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed.

There will also be a reserve day on June 12 if necessary as the top two Test sides do battle to see who will lift the mace as world Test champions.

Those two teams are yet to be finalised, although Australia currently top the rankings while India, who they meet in a four-Test series starting on February 9, are second.

Sri Lanka and South Africa sit third and fourth respectively, with the latter set to take on reigning champions New Zealand in a two-Test series in February.

England are in hot pursuit in fifth after winning eight of their past nine Test matches, while West Indies also have a slim chance of making the final.

New Zealand's hopes of retaining the title they claimed by beating India by eight wickets in Southampton in 2021 are already over, having won just two Test matches since that famous victory.

Jofra Archer reflected on a "surreal" feeling after a "long road" back from injury following his six-wicket haul for England in Wednesday's ODI victory over South Africa.

The fast bowler has endured a torrid time with injuries across the last three years and had not featured for England in any format since March 2021, before the white-ball series against the Proteas.

Archer managed just one wicket for 81 runs on his long-awaited return as England succumbed to a 27-run opening defeat on Friday in Bloemfontein.

The 27-year-old was rested as South Africa wrapped up the ODI series with a five-wicket win in the second encounter, but helped England avoid a 3-0 whitewash in the last clash.

He took 6-40, the third-best bowling figures for England in an ODI, as England cruised to a 59-run victory after Jos Buttler paved the way with a dominant 131 in the first innings.

"It is good being back. It has been a long road," Archer said after his maiden five-wicket haul in 50-over international cricket.

"This is a small tick but I want to see how I am in April, June, July and September.

"Being back after however many weeks, months it is kind of surreal. This is just the first series, there is loads of time to get the fine-tuning done."

A fearsome pace-bowling display reinvigorated memories of the 2019 Cricket World Cup victory and the Ashes series in the same year when Archer caused Australia problems with his aggressive style.

"He is like gold dust," former England captain Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports. "He is so valuable for English cricket and world cricket.

"What I took today, was not just his class and wicket-taking potential, but what I've missed is just the effortless grace he has."

Archer will head to the Indian Premier League to test his T20 credentials before returning to train for the upcoming Ashes series with Australia, which starts on June 16.

Former England captain Michael Atherton wants the star bowler to be managed carefully, though, with his previous injuries remaining a concern.

"Back and elbow are absolutely critical so there would have been some doubt there about whether he would get back," Atherton told Sky Sports.

"He's got some way to go yet to show he can do it across formats and then cope with an ever-demanding schedule but it was a wonderful day for him."

South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock was not considered for selection for the Proteas' final ODI against England on Wednesday following an injury to his right thumb.

De Kock suffered the injury in the 2nd ODI on Sunday while attempting to catch a ball off of an edge from England batsman Harry Brook.

The Proteas' wicketkeeper was cleared to bat in the second innings after a scan revealed no fracture and made 31 as a superb Temba Bavuma century saw his side chase down 342 to win by five wickets.

However, Cricket South Africa (CSA) decided De Kock will not be risked in the third ODI with Heinrich Klaasen his replacement.

South Africa are aiming for a series sweep after winning the first two matches in Bloemfontein and made three changes for the final ODI, with Anrich Nortje and Keshav Maharaj also missing out. 

Should they win the final game today, South Africa would boost their chances of automatically qualifying for the World Cup in India later this year with a defeat meaning they may have to go through the qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

The West Indies Women ended the South Africa Women’s Tri-Series without a win after suffering an eight-wicket defeat at the hands of India at Buffalo Park on Monday.

Captain Hayley Matthews made a top-score of 34 while under-19 player Zaida James made 21 not out as the Windies Women were restricted to just 94-6 off their 20 overs after India won the toss and chose to field first.

Off-spinner Deepti Sharma starred with the ball for India with 3-11 from her four overs while medium pacer Pooja Vastrakar took 2-19 from her four overs.

The Indians then needed just 13.5 overs to achieve victory, reaching 95-2 thanks to an unbeaten 53-run partnership between Jemimah Rodrigues (42 not out) and captain Harmanpreet Kaur (32 not out).

West Indies Women have now lost 10 T20 Internationals in a row. India will take on South Africa in the Tri-Series final on Thursday.

Temba Bavuma made a magnificent century as South Africa produced a record run chase to beat England by five wickets and seal an ODI series victory.

Jos Buttler top scored with an unbeaten 94 from 82 balls, while Harry Brook (84) and Moeen Ali (51) struck quickfire half-centuries to get the tourists up to an imposing 342-7 at Mangaung Oval on Sunday.

That was not enough to set up a series decider, though, as captain Bavuma (109 off 102) crafted his first international century for a year as the Proteas pulled off the highest successful ODI run chase in Bloemfontein.

David Miller finished off the job with 58 not out from 37 balls as South Africa boosted their chances of securing direct qualification for the World Cup in India this year, consigning England to a fifth consecutive loss in this format.

Jason Roy fell for only nine after scoring a century in the first ODI on Friday and Dawid Malan (12) also failed, but Brook and Buttler put on 73 for the fourth wicket.

Brook raced to a half-century before falling to Aiden Markram and Moeen kept England ticking along nicely with his skipper until he played on to a delivery from Anrich Nortje (2-64).

Buttler and Sam Curran (28 off 17) cut loose as the world champions took 60 off the last four overs to seemingly take the upper hand.

Bavuma led by example to get his side off to a blistering start, combining with Quinton de Kock – who took a blow on the wrist while keeping but did not appear to be hampered – for 77.

Olly Stone (2-48) got rid of De Kock but Bavuma was in great touch with support from Rassie van der Dussen (38) as England – who left Jofra Archer out the paceman's long-awaited return in the opening match – were unable to halt the flow of runs.

Bavuma fell scooping Curran into his stumps soon after bringing up a sublime third ODI hundred to end a stand of 97 with Van der Dussen, who then became Adil Rashid's (2-72) second victim.

Heinrich Klaasen (27) failed to build on a start, but Miller and Marco Jansen (32no off 29) got South Africa home with five balls to spare – the left-hander fittingly winning it by clattering Chris Woakes for six.

 

Brook and Buttler pummel Proteas attack

Brook has made a great start to his international career and showed his class in only his second ODI after being dismissed for a duck on debut two days earlier.

He struck four sixes and seven fours before Buttler provided a late onslaught, getting his side up to a big total with support from Moeen and Curran.

The skipper cleared the rope on three occasions and struck eight boundaries, shifting through the gears in explosive fashion.

Brilliant Bavuma sets up record chase, Miller delivers again

Bavuma had not reached three figures for his country since his hundred against India last January, but he ended that wait in style.

With South Africa battling to seal their World Cup spot for the tournament in India, Bavuma batted beautifully to lay the platform at the top of the order.

Miller thrives on the responsibility of being the finisher and he delivered once again, hitting three sixes as South Africa bettered their previous best ODI run chase on this ground of 274-4 against Australia in 2020.

Jason Roy's magnificent century was in vain as a hostile spell from Anrich Nortje inspired South Africa to a dramatic 27-run win over England in the first match of the ODI series.

With little margin for error as the Proteas battle to qualify for this year's World Cup in India, Rassie van der Dussen made a brilliant 111 and David Miller 53 as the hosts posted 298-7 at Mangaung Oval on Friday.

Jofra Archer (1-81) was expensive on his long-awaited international return in Bloemfontein, where Sam Curran (3-35) was the pick of the England bowlers.

Roy struck a sublime 113 from 91 balls, combining with Dawid Malan (59) for an opening stand of 146, but the world champions collapsed to 271 all out to go 1-0 down.

Paceman Nortje claimed 4-62, while Sisanda Magala (3-46) and Kagiso Rabada (2-46) also played a big hand as the tourists capitulated and South Africa made a great start to the three-match series with so much at stake.

Captain Temba Bavuma (36 off 28 balls) and Quinton De Kock (37 off 41) put on 61 for the first wicket before both were both sent packing by Curran.

Van der Dussen and Miller added 110 for the fifth wicket, the number three pacing his knock superbly, with Archer given the treatment in his first England match for almost two years.

It had looked like being a procession for England when South Africa-born Roy and Malan got them off to a flyer, only for the latter to strike a Magala bouncer high in the air for Bavuma to take.

Magala also removed ODI debutant Harry Brook after Nortje saw the back of Ben Duckett, but Roy raced to his hundred in only 79 balls as the boundaries flowed. 

England were 196-4 in the 30th over when Rabada dismissed Roy and Jos Buttler kept them ticking along with a patient 36, but they crumbled after Nortje had the skipper caught behind in a brilliant spell.

Tabraiz Shamsi sealed a stunning win by getting Olly Stone caught and bowled in the 45th over.

 

Roy returns to form in spectacular fashion

Opener Roy was left out of England's T20 World Cup-winning squad last year, but he showed what he is capable with a powerful knock that included 11 fours and four sixes.

He has now passed the 4,000-run milestone for England in ODIs with 4,106 in total. Among England batters, only Joe Root (91 innings) reached that mark in quicker time than Roy's 105 innings.

Rapid Nortje burst decisive

Van der Dussen was outstanding with the bat as he ensured South Africa posted an imposing total, but it did not look like being enough as England appeared to be cruising to victory.

That was until the rapid Nortje came to the fore with a brilliant spell, taking 3-14 in four overs to turn the tide and rock England. Buttler, David Willey and Archer – out for a duck on his return – all fell to the fired-up fast bowler, who totally changed the game.

Jofra Archer is poised to return to international cricket with England on Friday as Jos Buttler's team tackle South Africa in the first of three ODIs.

The 27-year-old fast bowler has been building up form and fitness by playing for MI Cape Town in the SA20 series, having played no international cricket since March 2021 due to injury.

Major elbow and back problems put Archer's blossoming career on hold, but he is back now.

Although Archer is only around 80 per cent of the way through his recovery, by his own estimation, all that is lacking is "fine-tuning", he said this week.

This is music to the ears of captain Jos Buttler, who said on Thursday: "It's great to have Jofra back, fit and playing cricket again. He's such an exciting guy to have back on the field. As an England captain, to have him back in your squad and in your team is brilliant.

"He's only just coming back to competitive cricket, this will be his first international game for a long time, so there's always going to be a level of expectation on Jofra because we all know what he's capable of. But I'm sure he's just going to get better and better as he comes back and gets back to performing at such a high level."

Buttler says Archer may need "a little bit of time" to fully return to where he was before injuries began to take their toll.

But at the start of a World Cup year, with England preparing to defend their 50-over title in India in October and November, Buttler said: "It's just fantastic to see him fit and back playing again."

Ahead of the opening match in Bloemfontein, England know a 3-0 series win would see them jump back above India to the top of the ODI rankings.

Former skipper Kevin Pietersen made an appearance at the team's training session on Thursday, with England looking to get back to winning ways after failing to win any of their last three ODI series, losing to Australia and India and drawing at home against South Africa.

The Proteas continue to be led by Temba Bavuma, and this series could be a key one in terms of his future as white-ball captain.

A shock defeat to the Netherlands knocked South Africa out of the T20 World Cup in November, with Bavuma signalling he will concur with whatever decision is made about the team's future leadership.

Rob Walter is due to take over as coach of the ODI side from the start of February, with Shukri Conrad overseeing this series.

"If the team wants to go in a different direction with a different leader, I am happy to step away," Bavuma said. "Ultimately it's up to the coach. We have got a new coach now and might be a new coaching staff.

"The coach will have his vision and he will need someone to drive that vision. At the moment the coach has entrusted me with that role, so I will continue doing my best. I'm fortunate I have got a bunch of guys that support me. For me, it's business as usual for now."

Milestone in sight for Roy

England batter Jason Roy is seven away from reaching 4,000 runs in ODIs. If he reaches the milestone in his first match of this series, his 105th innings, it would make him the second-fastest player to achieve it for England, Joe Root got there quicker than anyone, in just 91 innings.

Parnell on brink of century

Wayne Parnell, set to win a 70th ODI cap, will be hoping to complete 100 scalps in the 50-over international game during this series. He is on 97 at present and can become the 13th player to reach 100 wickets in the format for the Proteas. He has taken three or more wickets in three ODIs against England, including his career-best figures of 3-48, all the way back in November 2009.

Indian Captain Harmanpreet Kaur and opener Smriti Mandhana starred to lead India to a 56-run win over the West Indies in the South Africa Women’s T20I Tri-Series at Buffalo Park in South Africa on Monday.

An unbroken 115-run third-wicket partnership off 70 deliveries from Smriti Mandhana and Captain Harmanpreet Kaur helped India post 167-2 off their 20 overs after winning the toss and batting first.

The first wicket came in the final over of the first powerplay when wicket-keeper Rashada Williams took a sharp catch off the bowling of Karishma Ramharack to remove Yastika Bhatia for 18 with the score on 33.

Mandhana and Harleen Deol then came together and put on a further 14 runs before an eventful ninth over. A Deol boundary brought up India’s fifty before she was trapped in front for 12 by Shanika Bruce one ball later. This brought Kaur to the crease and the pair never looked back.

Mandhana brought up her 20th T20I fifty with a boundary off Shabika Gajnabi in the 16th over and smashed a six off Afy Fletcher in the 19th over to bring up India’s 150.

In the final over, Kaur brought up her ninth 50 in T20Is.

In the end, Mandhana hit 10 fours and one six on her way to an unbeaten 74 off 51 deliveries while Kaur finished with 56 off 35 with eight fours.

Shanika Bruce took 1-25 from her four overs for the Windies.

Despite losing only four wickets in their chase, the West Indies fell well short of their target, finishing 112-4 from their 20 overs.

Shemaine Campbelle top-scored with 47 while captain Hayley Matthews got 34 not out for the Caribbean side.

In a change at the top of the order, Rashada Williams, who batted at three in the first game against South Africa, opened the innings alongside Britney Cooper.

The West Indies lost their first wicket in just the second over when Cooper was dismissed by off-spinner Deepti Sharma for a first ball duck. In another change, Campbelle joined Williams at the crease.

Williams was next to go as she became Sharma’s second victim for eight to leave the Windies 20-2 in just the fourth over. Shabika Gajnabi came in at four.

At the end of the first powerplay, the Windies only managed 25 runs. The second ball of the seventh over saw the demise of Gajnabi for three off the bowling of Rajeshwari Gayakwad.

Captain Matthews then joined Campbelle in the middle and the two batted as well as they could given the team’s awful first powerplay.

They brought up their 50-partnership in the 14th over and looked set to bat through the remaider of the innigs before Campbelle’s 57-ball knock finally ended in the 18th over when she was caught brilliantly on the boundary by Amanjot Kaur off the bowling of Radha Yadav.

Deepti Sharma took 2-29 from her four overs while Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Radha Yadav took 1-16 and 1-10 from four overs, respectively.

Scores: India Women 167-2 from 20 overs, West Indies Women 111-4 from 20 overs.

India now has two wins from as many games in the Tri-Series while the West Indies have now lost their first two games. The West Indies will next play South Africa on Wednesday. South Africa won the first clash between the two by 44 runs on Saturday.

 

 

 

Australia were left frustrated as they ran out of time chasing victory in the rain-affected third Test against South Africa at the SCG, which ended as a draw on Sunday.

The hosts needed 14 wickets on the final day to secure victory and a clean sweep of the three-game Test series, but were denied despite bowling out the Proteas and enforcing the follow-on.

South Africa finished 106-2 in their second innings, having been bowled out for 255 shortly before tea. Australia needed nine wickets in the final session but eventually opted to shake hands with five overs left.

Pat Cummins' side were left frustrated after a series of unsuccessful reviews including several LBW appeals from Nathan Lyon which reverted to the umpires' call.

Steve Smith was also denied a crucial catch by the third umpire for the second time in the match, when Heinrich Klaasen edged to first slip off a frustrated Lyon in the second innings. Lyon bowled 40 first-innings overs, taking 2-88 before toiling away for 0-32 from 15 overs in the second innings.

South Africa will be content to have shown some final-day fight after a lopsided series with Sarel Erwee (42no) and Temba Bavuma (17no) unbeaten.

The tourists had resumed at 149-6 with Marco Jansen dismissed early, caught behind off Travis Head, but Simon Harmer (47) and Keshav Maharaj (53) teamed up for a gritty 85-run eighth-wicket partnership that halted Australia's push for victory.

Australia had their chances, most notably when Head dropped a caught-and-bowled chance from Maharaj, who lasted almost two hours alongside Harmer.

Maharaj eventually fell LBW to Josh Hazlewood, who also claimed the wicket of Harmer after Lyon had two reviews denied against him on 47. Hazlewood finished with 4-48 in the first innings on his return from a side strain.

After enforcing the follow-on, Cummins gave Australia hope when he had opposition skipper Dean Elgar caught behind by Alex Carey down leg side for 10, but the Proteas were stubborn enough to see out the draw.

Khawaja gets his reward

Usman Khawaja was denied a shot at a maiden Test double hundred, rooted on 195no, when Cummins declared on the fourth day pursing victory after day three was lost to rain but he was named Player of the Match.

Khawaja had a lean two Tests before his big knock, managing only 14 runs in his previous three innings against the Proteas. Coincidentally, David Warner was named Player of the Series after his double century at the MCG Test, yet he otherwise only scored 13 more runs in three other knocks.

Elgar struggles as skipper

Elgar endured a lean tour with his cheap dismissal down leg side in the second innings underlining his struggles since taking over as South Africa skipper in March 2021 from Quinton de Kock. The opener managed only 56 runs in six innings this series.

Australia require 14 more wickets on day five against South Africa if they are to finish the job at the SCG and collect a Test series sweep.

After a number of delays for rain and poor lighting over the first two days, the third day was completely washed out, forcing the Australians to declare after lunch at 475-4 in order to chase a result.

It meant stranding hometown hero Usman Khawaja on 195 not out, but the hosts would get to bowl 59 overs in sharp turning conditions while the tourists could realistically only play for a draw.

Any South African dreams of a two-day batting stand to salvage a gutsy draw took a blow when Josh Hazlewood (2-29) removed Dean Elgar for 15, drawing an outside edge through to the Alex Carey behind the stumps after returning from over a month out of the side.

Things went from bad to worse for South Africa when opener Sarel Elwee opted to leave an off-spinner from Nathan Lyon, only for it to clip his off-stump, departing for 18.

After captain Pat Cummins removed number-three Heinrich Klaasen caught behind for just two runs, the combination of Temba Bavuma (35 off 74) and Khaya Zondo (39 off 83) built a respectable partnership.

Ultimately the Aussie pace attack was too much to handle, with Hazlewood finding the edge of Bavuma before Cummins landed a yorker on Zondo's toes for a plumb LBW.

Cummins took one more in the fading light – Kyle Verreynne's edge to Steve Smith in the slips – to finish the day with team-best figures of 3-29 from 14 overs as South Africa finally reached stumps at 149-6, trailing by 326.


Khawaja reaches new heights at home ground

With his 195no – his fourth not-out from 10 innings at his home ground – Khawaja raised his Test average at the SCG to 130.83.

It is the third-highest Test average for any batter with more than three innings at the ground, trailing only England's Wally Hammond (161.6 from six innings) and India's Sachin Tendulkar (157.0 from nine innings).

Frank Worrell and Sachin Tendulkar are the only other batters in Test history to have been in the 190s when their captains declared.

Hazlewood illustrates Australia's fast-bowling 'problem'

Australia currently have an embarrassment of riches in the fast-bowling department, and it has reached a stage where an elite talent like Hazlewood is fighting for his spot.

Having not played for Australia since a Test against the West Indies in late November, Hazlewood reminded everyone just how good he is, finding the edge of both Elgar and Bavuma to put the hosts in a winning position.

With Scott Boland also boasting historic Test figures, as well Michael Neser and Lance Morris champing at the bit for their opportunity, it creates a good problem for the Aussies to have in an Ashes year.

Rain has forced the third day of the third Test between Australia and South Africa at the SCG to be abandoned without a ball being bowled on Friday.

Persistent downpours in Sydney mean Australia captain Pat Cummins faces a dilemma on when to declare with his side in complete control at 475-4 with Usman Khawaja (195*) and Matthew Renshaw (5*) at the crease.

Time is running out for Australia to complete a clean sweep of the three-game Test series, after 57 overs were lost on the opening two days before Friday's complete washout.

The Sydney forecast is for improved weather on the remaining two days, with a shower or two predicted for Saturday, followed by partly cloudy conditions without any rain on Sunday.

There are 196 overs remaining in the Test, meaning Cummins will need to be decisive, but likely will allow Khawaja to reach a maiden double hundred.

Australia will be motivated to secure the victory clinch their first-ever spot in the ICC World Test Championship final to be played in June.

The Aussies are due to travel to India for a four-game Test series starting in February.

Sydney's rain curse persists

Sydney's poor run of rain impacting Tests in January continues, with a total of 25 days washed out due to rain in 110 Test matches at the SCG. Over the past eight years, 64 per cent of days during the SCG Tests have been impacted by rain.

Elsewhere, Perth has never had an entire day's play washed out, while Hobart (one) and Adelaide (two) have had minimal issues, while Brisbane and Melbourne have lost eight and nine full days respectively. 

Steve Smith is unsure how long he will carry on playing for Australia after surpassing the great Don Bradman's tally of Test centuries at the SCG on Thursday.

Smith reached three figures for the 30th time in the longest format on day two of the third Test against South Africa, making 104 on his home ground before Australia closed on 475-4 with Usman Khawaja unbeaten on 195.

Only Ricky Ponting (41) and Steve Waugh (32) have more Test hundreds for Australia than the 33-year-old Smith, who moved level with Matthew Hayden's haul.

The former captain is not thinking about his future as he enjoys living in the moment.

When asked about his future, he said: "I don't know, we'll see. 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, enjoy it, enjoy training and trying to get better. Whilst I'm doing that I'm happy playing, but don't know how long it will last."

Australia will fancy their chances of securing a 3-0 whitewash of the Proteas in Sydney as they look certain to seal their place in the Test Championship final at The Oval in June.

Smith is relishing the opportunity to pass on his experience to his team-mates as he continues to rack up the runs.

"It's [about] trying to get better, help the team win games of cricket," he added. "I think we've played some really good cricket the last 12 months…we've got two really big hurdles in front of us with India and the Ashes.

"For me, it is trying to get better and trying to help some of the other batters coming through.

"I still try to help Marnus [Labuschagne] as much as possible, [Travis] Head, Cameron Green, Matty Renshaw, Marcus Harris…try to impart as much knowledge of conditions and ways to go about.

"If I can say something and you see that lightbulb go on and someone figures something out I get a big thrill out of that. I'll try and help them as much as I can."

Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith scored centuries as Australia built a massive lead before rain intervened again on the second day of the third Test against South Africa at the SCG on Thursday.

Australia were 475-4 at stumps after play was interrupted by light rain at drinks in the final session with Khawaja unbeaten on 195* alongside Matt Renshaw (5*).

The hosts were utterly dominant, beating the Proteas into submission, with only two wickets falling across 84 overs bowled for the day. However, the issue of time remaining in the Test looms large after more delays on day two, with grim weather forecast for Sydney in the coming days.

Khawaja had resumed alongside Smith with Australia 148-2 after only 47 overs were bowled on day one due to a combination of bad light and rain.

After an early rain delay, the 36-year-old left-handed opening batsman led from the front, bringing up his 13th Test century late in the opening session with two off Kagiso Rabada.

Khawaja celebrated his third straight SCG hundred with an air-punch and a little jig. Smith brought up his half-century shortly after.

South Africa skipper Dean Elgar demonstrably discarded the old ball when the Proteas took the new ball shortly before lunch, but it led to few opportunities for the tourists.

Smith went on to bring up his 30th Test century, surpassing the great Sir Donald Bradman, pulled to the backward square leg boundary from Anrich Nortje to reach triple figures.

But the vice-captain was dismissed caught and behind by Keshav Maharaj for 104 in the next over, ending their 209-run third-wicket stand. That marked the pair's 10th century partnership from 33 innings.

Travis Head kept the game moving with aggressive stroke play, blasting eight fours and one six before being caught by sub fielder Rassie van der Dussen at deep square off the tiring Rabada.

Renshaw, who tested positive to COVID on day one and had to keep his distance from team-mates, batted late in the day before stumps was called.

Patient Khawaja bats through

Khawaja finished the day unbeaten on 195, having faced 368 deliveries with 19 fours and one six, batting through the opening two days, albeit amid numerous delays. The Queenslander's 195* is his highest Test score and he will be chasing a maiden Test double hundred on Friday.

Maharaj breaks duck

Proteas left-arm orthodox spinner Maharaj had endured a lean series prior to claiming Smith's wicket, which was his first in the three Tests. That dismissal ended Maharaj's dire record of 0-247 from 66.5 overs in the series.

Siya Kolisi will be staying in France after the Rugby World Cup, with the South Africa captain clinching a move from the Sharks to Racing 92.

The Springboks' first black skipper, who led his team to 2019 global glory in Japan, will be targeting a repeat when France stages the 2023 World Cup in September and October.

It has now emerged Kolisi has agreed a long-term deal to switch to the Top 14, signing up until 2026 with Paris-based Racing in a deal that will take effect after the World Cup.

The 31-year-old flanker said: "I am very enthusiastic about the idea of ​​joining Racing 92 after the 2023 Rugby World Cup, a visionary club that I have always admired.

"I would like to thank all those involved in Racing 92 and the Cell C Sharks for allowing me to take up this new challenge. Racing 92 have great ambitions on the pitch but also very encouraging societal projects, which corresponds to my personal values ​​and mission."

In a statement announcing the signing, Racing said they would also collaborate with the Sharks in the long term on an exchange of ideas in a "broader long-term" agreement between the teams.

Racing chairman Jacky Lorenzetti said of Kolisi: "His deep culture of victory and his natural leadership make him a very great player who doubles as a deeply humanist man. He will bring additional positive energy to Racing 92."

Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee said Kolisi had been "an instrumental and much-loved member" of the club since joining from the Stormers in February 2021.

"His well-documented and commendable leadership qualities extends far beyond the playing field," Coetzee said on the Sharks website. "His move to France is a new and exciting opportunity and we could not be happier for him."

Josh Hazlewood is hopeful he can reassert his place in Australia's bowling attack ahead of the third and final Test against South Africa.

With Australia having already wrapped up a series victory following an impressive rout at the MCG, Pat Cummins' side head to Sydney in search of a clean sweep.

Injuries to Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc have seen Ashton Agar and Matt Renshaw handed red-ball recalls for the match, while Scott Boland has impressed through the series, but Hazlewood will hope he can rediscover his form after returning from injury.

Having missed the majority of a home Ashes series just over a year ago, Hazlewood played only two Tests in 2022, though the paceman believes he still has a valuable position in the pecking order.

"I still feel like it's in place," Hazlewood told reporters. "It's always good to have pressure It's great to have options, and it keeps you on your toes.

"[Injuries have been] frustrating, definitely. I don't feel like I've been injured much. It just happens to be at the wrong time of the year.

"The Test matches are so close together now. Apart from that, [for] the rest of the 24 months I've been fit and firing. So it's frustrating when you think about it like that."

Green and Starc's absence will possibly open the door for Hazlewood to feature, though he will face increased competition again when the two return.

But the focus will be on ensuring a whitewash against the Proteas at the SCG, where Australia have lost just one of their last 21 Tests.

Australia have won their last three men’s Tests against South Africa at home, the last and only time they recorded a longer winning run against the Proteas in such fixtures was an eight-match span from February 1911 to December 1952.

South Africa meanwhile risk losing a fifth straight Test, matching the rough run they endured between February and October 2019.

Khawaja heads to happy hunting ground

While his team-mates have been racking up big scores against the Proteas, Usman Khawaja has struggled for form across the series, with a total of 14 runs over three innings.

But he heads to a venue with rich pickings. Just 33 runs away from 4,000 in international red-ball cricket, his Test average at the SCG of 98.3 is the third-best of any player at the stadium, behind Wally Hammond and Sachin Tendulkar.

Nortje out to frustrate foes again

It has been a humbling experience for South Africa with bat and ball, but Anrich Nortje will hope at least to continue being a thorn in the side of opposition orders in 2023.

Batters played and missed at 19 per cent of balls he bowled in Tests in 2022, the highest rate of any player.

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