Fired-up Rabada rips through Australian batting
Fired-up Kagiso Rabada rocked the Australians with five wickets as South Africa completed day one of the second cricket test in the ascendancy at St George’s Park on Friday.
The world’s number two bowler fast bowler produced an inspired spell of five for 13 in only 18 balls to help bowl the Aussies out for 243 after the tourists had won the toss and elected to bat.
South Africa finished the day on 39 for one after 12 overs with Dean Elgar (11) and night-watchman Rabada (17) at the crease. Aiden Markram was the only wicket to fall, leg before wicket to Pat Cummins for 11.
Rabada’s scalps included those of captain Steve Smith and the Marsh brothers, Shaun and Mitchell, and his effort came at a time when the Proteas needed him most.
However, Rabada could come under scrutiny from the match officials after he brushed shoulders with Smith after dismissing him.
The fast bowler’s actions, which also included a vocal in-your-face celebration, prompted the umpires to have a word with both him and captain Faf du Plessis on the field.
Rabada has five demerit points and has already been banned for a test against England in July last.
If he is charged for a level two offence during this series he faces being handed three or four more points which would take him to eight or nine and that would result in him being suspended for a minimum of two tests.
But for now, the Proteas will reflect on a decent day the office in their pursuit of levelling the series.
At 98 for one after lunch the Aussies were sitting pretty and looking to push home their advantage gained by winning the first test by 118 runs in Durban on Sunday.
South Africa needed their fast bowlers to step up to the plate at a stage when the Aussie innings could have slipped away from them.
And it was Vernon Philander who was first to oblige just four overs after lunch as he nipped out Usman Khawaja for four runs.
Six overs later, and David Warner was also on his way back to the sheds bowled by a beauty from Lungi Ngidi.
Warner had batted superbly for his 63 and until then and cut a determined figure after all his off-the-field troubles this week. But he left the gate open and Ngidi was able to penetrate his defence.
It was then that Rabada kick-started his demolition of the Australian middle order.
He first captured the prized wicket of captain Steve Smith, trapped leg before wicket for 25.
Smith reviewed the decision unsuccessfully. The 22-year-old then sent Shaun Marsh packing in the same fashion.
Marsh (24) also reviewed the LBW decision and, he too, failed.
But Rabada was not done and three balls later he had Marsh’s brother Mitchell caught behind by De Kock for four to have the Aussies 170 for six at the tea break with one ball remaining in his 15th over.
He struck again with that one delivery after tea dismissing Pat Cummins first ball before claiming his fifth victim by bowling Mitchell Starc.
He finished the innings with figures of five for 96 in 21 overs.
Ngidi took the last two wickets but not before Tim Paine (36) added a pesky 61 runs for the last two wickets with Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazelwood.