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10-minute Rabada demolition leaves Australia reeling at Tea
March 09 2018

Kagiso Rabada dismissed Steve Smith and the Marsh brothers in quick succession
In a fiery spell moments before the Tea break, Kagiso Rabada picked up three wickets (Steven Smith and the Marsh brothers) in six balls as South Africa turned the innings on its head in the second session. After a 98-run opening stand, Australia lost their way, giving away six wickets for 70 runs. Rabada’s spell capped off an excellent session for South Africa that saw them pick five wickets.

The first of Rabada’s victims was Australia’s skipper, Steven Smith, who missed a full and straight one to be struck on the back leg and dismissed LBW for 25. Smith took a review in optimism but to no avail. The Marsh brothers were done in soon after with Shaun missing a delivery angled in from round the wicket, and Mitchell flaying his bat out to get an inside edge through to the ‘keeper.

While the latter half of the session belonged to Rabada, before that it was all Vernon Philander, who had dismissed Cameron Bancroft in the last ball before Lunch. Philander was back after the break to trouble the batsmen again and accounted for a lackadaisical Usman Khawaja.

Meanwhile, a determined David Warner racked up his 29th Test fifty and looked in good touch before Lungi Ngidi got one to zip back in to take the bails with Warner on 63. While he had done a world of good to his image after this knock, the worst was yet to come for Australia.

At the start of the second Test, the task at hand for both teams, after repeated warnings, was to let the cricket do the talking. And one of the primary leads in the fracas of the first Test – Warner – was immediately in the firing line as Australia opted to bat in Port Elizabeth.

At the end of the session he, along with Cameron Bancroft, had managed to put the off-field rubbish in the bin, by adding a solid 98-run stand. A slight drizzle had delayed the toss by ten minutes, and some dampness in the pitch meant that South Africa’s pacers found a lot of life in the early overs. Both Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander made the ball zig and zag to beat the bat repeatedly. However, none was able to find an edge in that quiet period.

But as the pitch eased out a little, the duo began to bring out some gloriously meaty drives. The pacers still managed to keep them honest, and even getting a couple of edges but, with the field moving from attacking to defensive, there was no one in the slip cordon to take these catches.

The two batsmen wasted no time in making the best out of it. Bancroft was unruffled in getting a big stride out despite the movement and accounted for some neat drives while Warner’s typical bashy freedom came out.

The latter started imposing himself as runs started flowing fast after the drinks break. The duo could have well made it a session completely dominated by Australia, but for Philander. Persisting away in that channel outside off, Philander finally had Bancroft caught behind by the ‘keeper at the stroke of Lunch.

By Tea, Rabada had taken over the mantle from Philander and pushed South Africa well ahead of the visitors with his quick strikes.

Brief Scores: Australia 170/6 (David Warner 63; Kagiso Rabada