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Brutal Kagiso Rabada bowls Proteas back into the second Test against India

South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen (L) celebrates with teammate Kagiso Rabada after taking a catch to dismiss Indian batsman Hanuma Vihari. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP

South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen (L) celebrates with teammate Kagiso Rabada after taking a catch to dismiss Indian batsman Hanuma Vihari. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP

Published Jan 5, 2022


Stuart Hess at Imperial Wanderers

Johannesburg - Kagiso Rabada produced a brutal and for his side much needed spell after the mid-morning drinks break, to keep the Proteas in the hunt in the second Test against India here on Wednesday morning.

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Rabada picked up three crucial wickets after it had looked like India were starting to run away with the match.

The tourists went to lunch on 188/6, with Hanuma Vihari on 6 and Shardul Thakur on 4. India’s lead is currently 161 runs.

The momentum of the morning changed when Dean Elgar replaced Marco Jansen with Rabada at the Golf Course End, shortly before the morning drinks break. Up to then it had been a dreadful hour for the home team, who looked flat, with the bowling poor, a continuation of Tuesday evening’s performance when India surged into a 58-run lead at stumps.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were more than happy to take advantage of several gifts from the South African bowlers, who dished up a lot of width, while the lengths were inconsistent. Pujara and Rahane, under pressure coming into this match, made crucial half-centuries while sharing a third wicket partnership of 111 that came off just 144 balls. The pair scored the runs at a rate comfortably above four an over, rapidly building India’s lead on a pitch, that is still giving plenty of assistance to the bowlers, and is only going to become more difficult to bat on.

South Africa’s play was encapsulated by a missed opportunity granted to Rahane, when Rabada got one to lift found the top edge of the right hander’s bat with the ball looping towards the slips region. It looked like a very simple catch for Aiden Markram at second slip, but he didn’t move thinking Keegan Petersen would come across from gully to complete the catch. Instead the pair looked at one another, and when Markram reacted, the ball fell to the turf.

Rabada’s tail was up however and the incident fuelled him further. After drinks he had Rahane caught behind by Kyle Verreynne off a delivery that lifted outside off-stump and moved awa. Rahane made 58, off only 78 balls, hitting eight fours and a six.

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Rabada ended his next over with another wicket, angling one into Pujara, and getting Alluhudien Palekar to raise his finger. Pujara reviewed, but DRS came up all red, confirming Pujara’s dismissal for 53, that came off 86 balls with Pujara hitting 10 fours.

Next it was Rabada’s Delhi Capitals teammate Rishabh Pant, who was dismantled in a short three ball burst that saw him beaten outside off stump, then struck on the hand by a ball that bounced steeply, before the next ball was edged behind as a clearly shaken up Pant charged the bowler.

India lost three wickets for 12 runs in 15 balls - a similar collapse to South Africa’s before the lunch break on Tuesday. Rabada’s spell read: 8-2-28-3, and very much turned the morning back South Africa’s way.

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A fourth wicket in the session followed minutes before lunch, when Lungi Ngidi had Ravi Ashwin caught down the leg side by Verreynne for 16.