Rabada rocks Australia in Port Elizabeth

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada tore the heart out the Australian middle order batting on the opening day of the second Test at Port Elizabeth.

    Steve Smith won the toss, but didn’t look at all convinced when he decided to bat on an overcast day with a wicket that had a fair smattering of grass.

    His worries were unfounded when openers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft put on 98 right on lunch before Bancroft was dismissed for 38.

    They had toughed it out in the first hour with Vernon Philander bowling superbly to scrape together only 23 runs, but they cut loose in the second hour to post 75.

    That was the first of four very distinct sections that stood out on day one.

    The second section was Smith and Shaun Marsh putting on 44 for the fourth wicket before they became the first victims of Rabada’s 5-13 blitz off just 11 deliveries.

    Rabada had bowled a lot of rubbish in three spells leading into the carnage that was the third stage.

    Smith and Marsh were leg before victims for 24 apiece. Mitchell Marsh was caught behind for four, Pat Cummins’ castle was destroyed first ball, and Mitchell Starc was bowled for eight.

    Their collective career averages total 183, but they were back in the shed for a lowly total of 60 with South Africa in control.

    South Africa’s bowler Kagiso Rabada

    (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

    But they hadn’t counted on keeper Tim Paine’s rearguard action for the fourth section.

    His three partnerships with tailenders Starc (8), Nathan Lyon (17), and Josh Hazlewood (10*) totalled a priceless 73 for Australia to be all out for 243.

    There’s no doubt Smith would have had a total of 300-plus in mind, but at one stage it looked as though Australia was going to be dismissed for under 200 until Paine took control.

    While Rabada had by far the best figures, it was Philander who was the best South African bowler.

    His figures of 2-25 off 11 overs told the story, His control of line and length was superb, and he beat the bat more than any other bowler, but the Australians didn’t bat well enough to nick them.

    Warner deserves special praise. Not only did he knuckle down when the wicket was at its most dangerous by scoring just eight off 36 deliveries, he then brought back the real Warner to crack 42 off his next 33.

    David Warner

    (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    He looked set for another ton until he copped the ball of the day from strapping 21-year-old paceman Lungi Ngidi.

    It cut back to find the gap between bat and pad to clip the top of the off stump – it was a jaffa.

    Ngidi’s playing only his third Test. Why he didn’t play in the first Test at Durban after figures of 1-51, 6-39, 1-27, and 1-38 in his first two Tests against India to average 17.22 remains a mystery.

    He’s sharp, and we’ll hear a lot more about him in this series. He finished the day with 3-51 off 13.3.

    Surprisingly the wicket began spin on day one, but left-arm orthodox Keshav Maharaj went wicketless today after taking nine wickets in Durban.

    South Africa will go into day two 204 runs in arrears at 1-39 with Rabada going great guns as the night watchman to be 17 not out with four fours.

    The man out was Durban century-maker Aiden Markram who was a Pat Cummins victim.

    But Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood must bowl a whole lot better tonight or the Australians could be a couple of hundred behind by stumps on day two.

    Then only South Africa can win to level the series.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • March 10th 2018 @ 7:15am
      Worlds Biggest said | March 10th 2018 @ 7:15am | ! Report

      300 would have been a decent score on this pitch. They did well to scrap to 243. Crazy when the openers put on a really good stand.

    • Roar Guru

      March 10th 2018 @ 8:13am
      Charging Rhino said | March 10th 2018 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      Great write up David.
      We’ll have to wait and see how the SA batters go on day 2.
      KG is a gun!!

    • March 10th 2018 @ 8:51am
      Cassia said | March 10th 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      Awesome summary David.
      Hate to say it but glad The Aussies got some of their back.

    • Columnist

      March 10th 2018 @ 8:54am
      David Lord said | March 10th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      But he may well be shot down by referee Jeff Crowe after deliberately shoulder bumping Steve Smith on hiss way back to the shed..

      In the light of the sledging aggro during the first Test, Rabada’s obvious bump wasn’t the decision of a rocket scientist.

      • Roar Guru

        March 10th 2018 @ 9:36am
        rebel said | March 10th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        Agree totally unnessary, especially after the past week.
        With carry over points, I think he should get a spell. He needs to wind his neck in a bit.

    • March 10th 2018 @ 9:47am
      Marshall said | March 10th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

      Well he’s going to need to leave it all on the park in the 2nd innings because he’s getting a holiday for a couple of tests after that.

      Morne will get his send off after all

    • March 10th 2018 @ 1:18pm
      BrainsTrust said | March 10th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

      Sorry but you are oft the mark, looks to me the slightest of touches caused by Smith coming back to talk to the non striker.
      Only an extremely biased person would complain about that.

      • March 10th 2018 @ 3:49pm
        John Erichsen said | March 10th 2018 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

        There was barely any contact at all. Smith looked around and gestured about the shoulder but he was just being a sook after getting a good pill he couldn’t handle. Rabada didn’t alter his line toward his slip fielders as he celebrated the prize wicket. Smith, however did turn and change direction to head towards Marsh to seek his thoughts about reviewing the decision. It will be a sad day for test cricket if Rabada is suspended for virtually nothing. Rabada can’t scream when he takes the biggest wicket on the planet, but Starc and co. can spray abuse at any batsman who have the temerity to hit a bad ball to the boundary, or deliver a barrage of venom for a play and miss. Sorry, fellow Australians, but we can’t have it both ways. We can’t love our players to be ultra-aggressive and then complain when Kohli, Rabada and others meet us with that same aggression.

        I doubt many would have any problem with Mitchell Starc screaming and barely touching the shoulder of de Villiers as Mitchell walked toward teammates to celebrate the big wicket. If Smith doesn’t appreciate a reaction when he gets dismissed, perhaps he should hit the ball when its tracking to hit middle and leg. Smith should be more focussed on not being the new Shane Watson regarding wasting batting reviews.

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