“The day was filled with mixed emotions and South Africa are well aware of that. Rabada has never managed to control his emotions whenever he was fired up with the ball. The day that witnessed one of the best spells from Rabada could turn out to be worst if Jeff Crowe takes a call against the 22-year-old”.
“Cricket is a gentleman’s game.” The current scenario of the game is nowhere close to this. In fact, if you looked into the history, it never was because aggression has always been a vital part of the game which only gave it a better shape. On the opening day of the second Test between Australia and South Africa in Port Elizabeth, the 22-year-old Kagiso Rabada single-handedly turned the game’s course into the favour of the hosts. But, at the same time, he further stoked the ill-feeling between the teams by the send-off he gave the Australian captain.
Kagiso Rabada may be in big trouble. He is carrying 5 demerit points and made contact with Smith on his dismissal. He could be out for 2 games if done.
— Peter Lalor (@plalor) March 9, 2018
After Philander and Lungi Ngidid removed Cameron Bancroft and David Warner respectively, Rabada came into the picture. He found reverse swing just before tea that led to a massive destruction in the touring party. Rabada angled a length ball that struck Smith on the back pad in front of the middle stump. The on-field umpire without any hesitation raised his finger to declare Smith out. A pumped up Rabada continued to shout “Yes, yes,” as he moved in Smith’s direction and in the meantime, Rabada’s shoulder Smith’s shoulder. Smith reviewed the decision. However, but as soon as the replays were shown on the big screen, Smith walked off.
This kind of aggression comes in as a package with a fast bowler, especially in an intense Test like this one. Now, if Rabada has “crossed the line” or not, match refree Jeff Crowe would decide on Saturday. The players had come from facing disciplinary issues in the first Test and it took just another moment to add another one to that list. The likes of Quinton de Kock, David Warner and Nathan Lyon were all sanctioned in the Durban. Keeping Rabada’s fate aside in the remainder of the series, he has ensured that the second Test of this series will always be remembered for his thunderous spell on the first day.
In his next over, Rabada dismissed Shaun Marsh, also LBW when the latter looked to flick. Three balls later, slightly ill Mitchell Marsh was caught behind against Rabada’s reverse swing delivery. Rabada claimed three wickets to signal team. He bagged a wicket on the last ball before tea and on the first ball post tea when he removed Pat Cummins. He moved the ball away brilliantly again and dismissed Mitchell Starc, his fifth wicket of the day. Rabada even had a small heated word with the latter but in the end, the youngster had his seventh five-for in Test cricket.
— ICC (@ICC) March 9, 2018
While Australia had done all the hard work, it all negated by a single spell. According to CricProf, the online data analysts, he calculated that just 3.3% of Rabada’s deliveries were hitting the stumps but the surface was such that LBW and bowled dismissals came more into the play and that helped Rabada, who claimed his five wickets in the span of 18 deliveries. “The thing with reverse swing is once you have a bit of pace on it, you are always going to be threatening. I don’t think it went big today – there was a hint of it. KG hit his lengths well which was key on this wicket,” Philander said.
The day was filled with mixed emotions and South Africa are well aware of that. Rabada has never managed to control his emotions whenever he was fired up with the ball. The day that witnessed one of the best spells from Rabada could turn out to be worst if Jeff Crowe takes a call against the 22-year-old. If that happens, Rabada would have invited a second ban in the space of eight months. It will not only hurt him individually but also will give a major change to the course of the series against the hosts.