Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa pace bowler Kagiso Rabada took a six-wicket haul to lead his side to a six-wicket win over Australia on the fourth day of the second Test in Port Elizabeth.
Rabada’s heroics with the ball not only led the Proteas to victory, but also levelled the series at 1-1.
Starting off the day on 180/5, Australia were dealt a huge blow on the sixth ball of the day as Mitchell Marsh was clean bowled by Rabada for 45.
Rabada continued to wreak havoc on Australia’s batting line-up as he removed Pat Cummins for five runs before Mitchell Starc was caught behind for one run.
Lungi Ngidi also joined the party as he sent Nathan Lyon packing for five runs.
Australia ended up being bowled out for 239, which set South Africa a target of 101 to win, when Josh Hazlewood was caught by Ngidi at deep midwicket off the bowling of Keshav Maharaj for 17.
Rabada was the pick of the bowlers with six wickets, while Ngidi and Maharaj snapped up two wickets apiece.
Chasing 101 to win, South Africa lost opener Dean Elgar early on as he was caught and bowled by Lyon for five runs.
Shortly after the lunch break, Aiden Markram was caught by Australia captain Steve Smith in the slip cordon off the bowing of Hazlewood for 21.
Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers stabilised the innings with a 49-run partnership before Amla was caught behind off the bowling of Cummins for 27.
De Villiers was on his way back to the pavilion the very next over as he was caught by Cameron Bancroft at short leg off the bowling of Lyon for 28.
Despite losing Amla and De Villiers in quick succession, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis and batsman Theunis de Bruyn mopped up the remaining runs to seal the Proteas’ win.
Lyon was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Cummins and Hazlewood claimed one wicket each.
Smith was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “They outplayed us in every aspect of the game. AB was a big difference between the sides, we weren’t too far away. 75 runs in the first innings, 50 in the second, and it could have gone either way. Rabada bowled exceptionally well.
“Yesterday morning was a tough one, we hoped we could get them quickly, keep their lead to 50. 140 was a lot. We came out really well, got AB out conventionally out for the first time this series, gives us confidence.”
Du Plessis was delighted to have levelled the series, and said: “Serious character, we absorbed pressure well. Amla and Elgar in the first innings, if you have AB, he can transfer pressure back. Great turnaround from the previous Test, where it was the opposite. The first hour went pretty well, we then went to the beach for a little bit.
“Absolute champion of a bowler, Rabada. AB looked like he batted on a different pitch. Two bowlers get excessive reverse swing, Starc and KG. If we can keep Australia quiet, that’s half the battle. It’s disappointing for the series (Rabada’s impending hearing), you want your best players to play the series. We’ll challenge that to keep him in the series.”
Rabada was named Man of the Match, and said: “I’m glad, put in the preparation and things happened for me this Test. Always nice bowling with the hard, new rock. Always enjoyable. Something that needs to be on point against good batters (lengths).
“I don’t think so (a batting promotion), I’ll stick to the nightwatchman. The one to Warner was special. Australia are not going to roll over easily.”