Usman Khawaja says “time is the enemy” but the born-again opener believes that a result, as unlikely as it is, is “still possible”.

After yet another dreary ol’ Sydney day to start the new year, Australia was unable to push ahead on day three after play was abandoned in the mid-afternoon without a ball being bowled.

It was the 26th day of Test cricket to be washed out at the SCG from 110 Tests, according to statistician Ric Finlay.

How cruel that the only time there was any blue sky during the day was when the clouds broke ever so slightly after the umpires had seen enough.

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Before then, the 23,915 patient fans, dressed largely in pink, had been teased relentlessly throughout the day like a cat playing with a mouse as constant showers made their way up the east coast.

Twice the watchful crowd roared with delight as the groundkeepers sprinted across the SCG from the Billy O’Reilly Stand to the Ladies Stand to pull back the covers. On each occasion, they were left disappointed.

Rain saw day three of the New Year’s Test at Sydney Cricket Ground washed out on January 06, 2023. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

It leaves captain Pat Cummins with a decision to make, with Australia 4-475 in their first-innings.

Khawaja, ever the optimist, said a result was still possible.

“Yeah, definitely. 100 per cent,” he said.

“The time is the enemy. That’s all it is. You’ve got to decide how you’re going to use that time the best you can.

“A result is very unlikely, but it is still possible.”

He added: “I think there will still be an opportunity to win the game. I can’t imagine us just going, ‘Oh we’ll bat all day tomorrow.’ I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think if you don’t give yourself a crack to try and win the game at least, I think you’ve done a disservice to the game.”

Usman Khawaja said even his wife was mocking his century against South Africa. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Whether Australia continues to bat remains to be seen.

Saturday’s weather could yet influence Cummins’ decision, with rain expected to ease over the weekend.

Depending on whether Dean Elgar’s men want to make a game of it over the next two days, Cummins’ team will have to take at least 10 wickets to win the match and as many as 20 if the Proteas skipper doesn’t want to play ball.

But, according to Khawaja, quick runs, including a historic, maiden double century, is front of mind for the left-hander who remains stranded on 195 alongside the recalled Matthew Renshaw (5).

“I think it’d be pretty harsh if he bowled straight away,” the straight-shooting Khawaja quipped of Cummins.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen.

“He’s been making a few jokes around the changeroom today, just walking around. He was like, ‘I’ve let Deano [Elgar] know that we’re going to go out and have a bowl straight away.’

“He’s in the changeroom taking the mickey out of me, but we don’t know. We could go out there and try and get a few more runs really quickly and then go, or we could declare pretty much straight away.

“It’s obviously a decision that he’ll have to make tomorrow and decide on what the weather’s doing and how he wants to play out this game.”

Pat Cummins has a decision to make after how long he will bat for after rain washed out day three of the New Year’s Test in Sydney. Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

A day earlier, Khawaja played like a man at the top of his game.

On Friday, he once again spoke like a man without an ounce of pressure and someone who was happy just playing and living in the moment.

Having resurrected his career a year earlier by scoring twin centuries at the SCG, Khawaja put any fears that he might retire any time soon to bed by saying he hadn’t experienced the “grind” like teammates David Warner and Steve Smith and that his celebration on Thursday after scoring his 13th century was simply down to the excitement of converting a start.

“Every hundred’s extremely special,” he said.

“Last year’s one was completely unexpected because I wasn’t intending to play. Even my wife yesterday came to me and said, ‘that was really cool but I think last year might have been a little bit cooler.’ Even she is discrediting this hundred.

“For me, every time I get a hundred, especially in Australia, home crowd, there’s no feeling like it.”

Meanwhile, former Test star turned selector Mark Waugh criticised Australia’s decision to go in with just the four specialist bowlers, believing Cummins didn’t need six specialist batsmen given Alex Carey’s form with the bat.

Waugh described it as a “defensive selection” and said he would have given speed demon Lance Morris a license to bowl flat out.

“That’s the thing, I don’t think we picked the right team actually,” Waugh said on Fox Cricket.

“I would have played five bowlers. I didn’t think we needed six out-and-out batsmen plus Carey.

“To me, that’s a little slight defensive selection. Maybe they wanted to look at Renshaw on a turning pitch for India. So you can give them a little leeway there.

“But you don’t need that batting line-up against South Africa. I thought we needed an extra bowler.

“Lance Morris, for example, I would have played. Just to have a look at him, pace through the air. So that was a slightly defensive selection I thought.”

Nonetheless, a day that promised plenty delivered nothing as the rain set in on Sydney to dampen what shaped as an exciting day of Test cricket.

While Shane Warne is no longer with us, it was only a year ago that the legendary, late bowler called for Sydney to lose the New Year’s Test because the weather gods were no longer playing ball with the scheduled Test.

“It’s better weather then [late November] than it is in the first week of January,” Warne said last year on Fox Cricket.

“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 Nick Hockley, however, rubbished any suggestions the SCG Test should be moved from its traditional timeslot.

“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,” Hockley told SEN 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.”