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Kagiso Rabada’s Five-Wicket Haul Makes Australia Feel the Heat in Home Conditions

rabada1New Delhi, Monday, November 7 – After landing in Australia, South Africa thought of starting the tour with sheer confidence but that did not happen though the toss was won by Faf du Plessis, who elected to bat first. Having Hashim Amla, Dean Elgar, Jean-Paul Duminy, Stephen Cook, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj on his side, the captain of South Africa thought of excelling.

Steven Smith, on the other hand, wanted to inflict a defeat on the rivals having Shaun Marsh, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood in the Australian squad. His captaincy was supposed to play major role since a captain’s decision how to place fielders on the field or whom to send above or below in the batting order can make a lot of difference in the team’s performance.

Those who considered South Africa ‘playing XI’ that might not be able to win the first match against the strong team thanks to Aussies good show when they restricted the rivals at a score of 242 were proved wrong soon after 540 runs were accumulated in the second innings for the loss of eight wickets. The decision to declare was right since there was no point of totaling substantial amount of runs when other team would have managed to end it in a draw. Aussies missed the chance of taking good lead in their 1st innings and were all out at 244 runs. The lead of two runs was nowhere adequate to keep same sort of pressure on the Proteas what they put after making them suffer batting collapse.

Terrific performances by Dean Elgar, who scored 127 runs in 316 balls (4 x 17 and 6 x 1) and Jean-Paul Duminy , who pocketed 141 runs in 225 balls (4 x 20 and 6 x 1), made the South African camp get strong in the contest despite not starting on a robust note. The outstanding show in the second part at W.A.C.A. Ground in Perth made South Africa get a foothold and send Australia on the back foot. Quinton de Kock also played an important knock of 64 runs, with the help of five 4s and two sixes. Vernon Philander played an innings of 73 runs, together with 10 4s and two sixes. Keshav Maharaj’s unbeaten knock of 41 runs in 34 balls (4 x 2 and 6 x 3) add to substantial runs as well. Faf du Plessis scored 32 runs in 64 balls, with the help of four boundaries. Even though beginning wasn’t good for the traveling side, they managed to pull off strongly in the 2nd part.

On a pitch that did not help the batsmen as compared to bowlers at first made Proteas pocket more than 500 runs thanks to some good knocks by a few players. Since South African squad left no stone unturned to pocket as many as runs possible, it became a tad easy for them to afford seeing the ball getting towards the boundary line when Aussies came to chase the target which is getting far away from them as of now. Shaun Marsh lost his wicket to Rabada at a score of 15 (4 x 1) when du Plessis ensured the catch is taken on time. David Warner was run out by quick response of Bavuma at a score of 35 (4 x 6). Usman Khawaja’s innings of  97 runs was of immense use since it helped Australia stay in the game and not lose wicket for some time, which was required to give competition to the rivals.

Duminy bowled a beautiful delivery that made umpire to declare Khawaja lbw. His innings was studded with 11 4s and three sixes. Steven Smith – the captain did not succeed in making his innings go big after Rabada was brought in attack for another time. In spite of the fact that he played 91 balls, only score 34 runs could be attained. Probably, objective was to stay on the crease and get runs with ease. Five boundaries were highlights of his play. Rabada was on fire, dismissing Adam Voges on a single. Mitchell Marsh was too dismissed by the young man at a score of 26, which consisted of four 4s. Mitchell Starc failed to read a delivery by Rabada  and got his legs before wicket at a score of 13 (4 x 2).

As of now, Peter Nevill is batting at a score of 37 and Hazelwood at a zero. Peter Siddle lost his wicket on 13 runs. After 103 runs, 304 runs have been totaled for the loss of eight wickets. South Africa look forward to remaining two wickets as this will enable them log a wonderful victory on the Australian team that is famous for its superb performances. The innings of tail-ender batsmen is of huge importance. The remaining overs of the day are to be played as focus is to anyhow finish the match in a draw. If they are able to do so, it will be a major achievement for the hosts. This is not going to be easy for the reason that Proteas are give their hundred percent efforts to carry on putting pressure on the rivals, snatching away victory that will give them lead of 1-0 in the Test series. Rabada bowled in accurate line and length, giving no room to the Australians to show their ability to score faster. Quick dismissals made other batsmen to come on the crease but nobody held the fort when it was required to play big innings.

Lack of bigger knocks gave South African bowlers major breakthroughs. Audience, who wanted to jump in joy whenever a shot or a biggie was hit by Australian players, is disappointed as seeing the home side winning in familiar conditions is always tough. Even though Morne Morkel, Kyle Abbott, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rilee Rossouw, and Dane Vilas are in extras, the way their team has performed must have taught them how to outshine in tough situations. Regardless of the fact that Australians too sent the balls into the fences often and changed strikes to pockets singles and twos whenever possible, disciplined bowling by Rabada added to stress on them. With a terrific batting line-up, Aussies did not think of landing in problematic situation. To avoid defeat at the hands of South Africa in the beginning of the tournament, it is important to save remaining wickets as long as possible.

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