Australia 3-126 in rain-hit fourth Test

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  • Usman Khawaja
    Usman Khawaja
    Australian cricketer
  • Marcus Harris
    Australian cricketer

Usman Khawaja has been likened to a kid in a candy store this summer, now the recalled veteran can write himself into Ashes folklore with the sweetest of SCG centuries.

Australia will resume at 3-126 on day two of the fourth Test after a stop-start opening day in Sydney, where Khawaja finished unbeaten on four.

England's disciplined attack and multiple rain delays frustrated the hosts, with well-set batters Marcus Harris and Marnus Labuschagne departing in consecutive overs late on Wednesday.

Khawaja and Steve Smith (six not out) settled, negotiating a tense pre-stumps burst of six-and-a-half overs that came under overcast skies and with the lights on.

The duo, who came together when Australia slipped to 3-117, will be desperate to compile an imposing total as Australia pursue a 4-0 series lead after retaining the urn in Melbourne.

Khawaja had every reason to believe his international career could be over as he waited for another chance after being axed during the 2019 Ashes.

Travis Head's COVID-19 diagnosis resulted in an SCG recall for the 35-year-old, who debuted for Australia at the venue in 2011 against the same opposition.

Khawaja received Wednesday's loudest cheers from the crowd of 25,078, much to the delight of David Warner.

"He's obviously scored a lot of (Sheffield Shield) runs in the last couple of years and waited patiently," Warner said.

"He's a good friend of mine, I grew up playing with him.

"I'm excited to be back here playing alongside him.

"He's pumped. He's like a kid in a candy store ... he's bringing a lot of energy."

Khawaja has conceded he will be axed when Head returns in Hobart for the series finale, but a game-changing century would leave an indelible mark on selectors and fans alike.

Light rain arrived shortly before the 6.30pm AEDT cutoff, ending play prematurely and leaving Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes notably unimpressed.

Some 46.5 overs of play was possible on Wednesday.

Wet weather twice interrupted the morning session and delayed the toss by 30 minutes.

The rain arrived again soon after Broad's dismissal of David Warner to wipe out most of the post-lunch session.

"It's not ideal ... it is frustrating, but we can't do anything about it," Warner said.

Further rain is expected throughout the match.

Broad, who tormented Warner from around the wicket in the 2019 Ashes, dismissed the opener for a 13th time.

Warner (30), Harris (38) and Labuschagne (28) were all out edging.

"If we can start (day two) like we finished tonight, as a group, then we can put Australia under pressure," express paceman Mark Wood said, having dismissed Labuschagne.

Harris' three hours at the crease felt like so much longer given the multiple rain interruptions, with the opener certain to be kicking himself after showing so much patience.

Pat Cummins opted to bat under ominous clouds, backing teammates to excel on what he termed a "really good batting wicket".

England captain Joe Root said he was also keen to bat first.

Australia hold an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series, having crushed England by an innings and 14 runs at the MCG.

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