The new poster boy of South African cricket Kagiso Rabada was in the forefront once again with a brilliant five-wicket haul which paved the way for victory over Australia in Perth yesterday.
Rabada’s star has been on the rise for some time now and his effort on foreign soil was a key element as South Africa sent out a strong message that they mean business in this series.
The appealing thing about Rabada is that despite hitting the heights he has, he has remained humble and modest, and this trait will endear him to many fans.
But make no mistake, this was not a one-man show and the magnificent hundred by J P Duminy and the run-out of Australian kingpin David Warner by the diminutive Temba Bavuma were also crucial to the cause.
Duminy has not always delivered on the big stage but his second-innings knock was one to remember and brimful of power and precision.
All this bodes well for the second test which starts at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Saturday.
While there were smiles aplenty at the post-match presentation among the South Africans, Australian skipper Steve Smith found it difficult to mask his obvious disappointment.
While the Proteas will head to the second test with their tails up, Smith will have a tough job picking his men up for what could be the decisive test in the three-match series.
The South Africans have put that unwanted element of doubt into the minds of an Australian cricket team who normally thrive on being dominant.
While Bavuma’s run-out effort may not be remembered as long as Duminy’s century or Rabada’s bowling, it will have been a great tonic for the South Africans.
Cricket critics are already calling it perhaps the greatest run-out in the history of cricket and that will add to the glow and warmth permeating throughout the Proteas’ camp.
It should be remembered that the win was achieved without the presence of inspirational A B de Villiers and pace ace Dale Steyn, who could not bowl in the second innings after fracturing his shoulder.
Without wanting to count their chickens before they hatch, the Proteas must surely feel that they have a better than even chance of clinching the series over the old foe in Hobart.