David Warner’s Test farewell has been overshadowed by Sydney’s poor weather and cricket’s archaic rules, with half of the day lost to bad light and rain.
After Warner was dismissed for 34 before lunch on day two in what could prove his last Test innings, play was interrupted with Australia 2-116 in reply to Pakistan’s 313.
Lights were on at the SCG and the conditions were gloomy, but the decision to take players from the field for bad light was met with boos from the crowd and criticism from former players.
Players stayed off for a further 40 minutes while 25,000 fans remained in attendance, before rain began to fall and the day was officially washed out.
“It is so frustrating,” Australia’s ex-coach and player Justin Langer said on Channel 7.
“I have walked in all the shoes as a player and batsman. You want to be off and want perfect conditions, and then as coach you want what’s best for your team.
“But when you look at the big picture, it is crazy these guys aren’t playing Test cricket here.
“You have a big crowd here, they have come here for David Warner’s last game.
“It is the pink Test. It is a competitive and combative Test match, and yet we’re walking off the ground.
“It’s not great for the game of cricket this is happening right now.”
Warner’s hopes of a farewell century were dashed in the first session when he was caught at first slip by Babar Azam off Agha Salman.
Resuming on six following a nervous one-over stay late on day one, the left-hander produced one of the shots of the morning when he square-drove Hasan Ali for four.
Warner steered another ball from Hasan between the slips and gully to the rope, and an edge off Aamir Jamal also went for four.
But after being dropped in the slips by Saim Ayub on 20, there would be no second reprieve when Warner was on 34.
Facing a ball from Salman that gripped and bounced, Warner was squared up on the crease and outside-edged the ball to Babar at first slip.
Clearly frustrated, the opener walked from the field glancing back to view a replay as he received a standing ovation from the crowd of more than 25,000.
Warner will still likely have a chance to bat in the fourth innings of the match, but his run-scoring could be limited depending on what Australia are chasing.
It was fitting that his childhood friend Usman Khawaja remained at the other end for what potentially could be Warner’s last innings, depending on the match situation.
After first batting together in under-11s in eastern Sydney, the pair put on their 13th opening stand of 50 or more against a Pakistan attack that again started slow.
Khawaja also looked in good touch, using his feet and hitting Sajid Khan back over the spinner’s head for four before lunch.
He also pulled Aamir to the boundary after the break in one of the highlights of the second session.
But Khawaja was later caught behind down the legside trying to pull Aamir again on 47, when a ball brushed his glove on the way through.
That left Marnus Labuschagne (23no) and Steve Smith (6no) at the crease, before the dark overhead clouds set in.