Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
12 Jan 2022
5:56 am

‘A good day,’ says Rabada, after SA dismantle India

Ken Borland

Though there was movement and some steep bounce, Rabada said the Newlands pitch was not exactly poisonous.

Kagiso Rabada celebrates the wicket of India captain Virat Kohli. Picture: Gallo Images

India owe numerous debts of gratitude to their captain Virat Kohli, who batted for four-and-a-half hours and wrestled them to 223 all out with his defiant innings of 79, but his conqueror, Kagiso Rabada, said the secret to his and South Africa’s success on the first day of the decisive third Test at Newlands on Tuesday was not coming up with any special plans but rather being relentless in their basics.

Rabada was outstanding in his 50th Test and actually deserved better than his final figures of 4/73 in 22 overs on Tuesday, such was the quality of his fast bowling.

His tussle with Kohli was dazzling at times, and South Africa’s talismanic fast bowler eventually won the day when he had the great batsman caught behind as the penultimate wicket of the innings.

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“Kohli batted extremely well and he was very patient with leaving the ball,” Rabada said.

“People think we have such wicked plans but it was all about bowling a good line and length, being relentless and resilient.

“I wasn’t going for his pads obviously. I was just trying to get the ball to swing away. That’s where he’s been getting out lately, and the important thing was to just stick at it.

“Bowling very seldom feels perfect, but it was a good day for me. I just tried to be as consistent as possible.”

India chose to bat first with dark clouds enveloping the ground and a greenish tinge to the pitch. Armed with the hard, red new ball, Rabada and Duanne Olivier made life hard for them from the outset.

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But though there was movement and some steep bounce, Rabada said the Newlands pitch was not exactly poisonous.

South Africa, batting under clear blue skies, reached 17/1 in the eight overs they faced before stumps.

“There’s still quite a bit in the pitch, but it looks a proper Test wicket. Batsmen will have to grind, but the bowlers still have to bowl well,” Rabada said.

“We have no control over conditions, but I don’t think it’s going to get much easier for batsmen tomorrow (Wednesday).”

The 26-year-old, who took his tally to 230 Test wickets, was in his element on Tuesday. His action was liquid smooth, his accuracy superb and the ball was talking.

India have a couple of mean fast bowlers of their own though, and South Africa’s batting line-up are going to have to support their bowlers now and do well as a unit.