Rain delays play on day 3 of 3rd test at SCG

SYDNEY: Australia's hopes of completing a series clean sweep against Pakistan were dampened Thursday as rain washed out the entire first session on the third day of the third test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Pakistan is 126-2 in its first innings, still trailing Australia by 412 runs, with Azhar Ali and Younis Khan sharing an unbeaten century stand, which rallied the visitors after a dire start on day two and renewed hope of avoiding the follow-on.

Half-centuries by Younis (64 not out) and Azhar (58 not out) steadied the innings after Josh Hazelwood took two wickets in an over soon after Australia captain Steve Smith had declared at 538-8 just before tea.

Hazelwood (2-32) first removed Sharjeel Khan caught at slip by Matt Renshaw for four and then trapped Babar Azam lbw for a duck four balls later to leave the visitors at 6-2 and staring at a steep climb to just avoid the follow-on.

Azhar has 382 runs at an average of 127.33 for the series and needs nine more to pass Mohsin Khan's 390 set in 1983 to become the highest Pakistani run-scorer in a series in Australia.

Pakistan has not won a test in Australia since Mustaq Ahmed inspired a 75-run victory over Australia in 1995 — a span of 12 matches.

Weather forecasts predict the rain should subside in the afternoon allowing play to resume.