Alex Carey's maiden Test century sees Australia pull away on day three

Getty Images

Alex Carey is now the proud owner of the best ever Test score by a wicketkeeper at the MCG after notching his first century in the longest format on day three of Australia's clash against South Africa.

Carey began the day with nine runs, and added another 102 to reach 111 off 149 deliveries – surpassing Rod Marsh's knock of 110 back in 1977 to set a new standard for wicketkeepers at the famous ground.

He was eventually caught and bowled by Marco Jansen, but Cameron Green was determined to stick around as Australia took full control of the second Test.

Green patiently made his way to 51 not out from 177 balls in support of Carey while nursing the pain of a fractured finger that is set to keep him out of the third Test.

And after another ugly finger injury earlier in the Test had appeared to end Mitchell Starc's match, he also returned and scored 10no before the Australians declared at 575-8 after 145 overs of dominance.

Anrich Nortje was the pick of the South African bowlers, taking 3-92, but trailing by 386, the best the tourists could really hope for was a draw.

And the chances of South Africa batting out the final two days took a massive blow before the close when Dean Elgar was caught behind for a duck off Aussie skipper Pat Cummins' bowling.

With the ball swinging a mile and Starc toughing it out to rejoin the attack, South Africa were saved from any further damage by the arrival of rain, ending the day's play over an hour before the scheduled finish time.

The visitors will resume on day four at 15-1 with Sarel Erwee (7no) and Theunis de Bruyn (6no) at the crease, trailing by 371 runs.

Carey's history-making knock

The century from Carey was not just the best score by a wicketkeeper at the MCG, topping Marsh from 1977, but also the only other century by a wicketkeeper ever in a Test at the ground.

His previous high score from 13 Test matches was 93 against Pakistan in Karachi earlier this year and the maiden century - which included 13 fours - raised his average to just under 40 (39.6).

Starc and Green battle through the pain

It was initially reported that Starc's finger injury from day one would likely take between six and eight weeks to properly heal, and that it could be some time before he bowls again – only for paceman to come out for a bat and bowl on day three.

It was also unknown if Green would be able to continue playing after a bouncer caught him on the finger in day two, triggering an injury retirement, but he also decided to battle it out and ended up facing the second-most deliveries in the match so far (177), as Australia impressively built on David Warner's double hundred.