Rabada powers SA to victory in the first test against Australia

Members of the South African team react as they celebrate after defeating Australia at the WACA Ground in Perth Picture: David Gray / Reuters
Members of the South African team react as they celebrate after defeating Australia at the WACA Ground in Perth
Picture: David Gray / Reuters

Kagiso Rabada’s fourth five-wicket haul powered South Africa to victory in the first test against Australia at the WACA on Monday.

South Africa won by 177 runs when they dismissed Australia‚ who were set a mythical target of 539‚ for 361 with 25.5 overs left in the last day’s play.

Rabada‚ who took 5/92‚ struck in the eighth over of the day when he had Mitchell Marsh trapped in front for 26 to end a stubborn stand of 50 for the fifth wicket shared with Usman Khawaja.

Australia would have been reduced to 203/5 in Rabada’s next over but second slip Faf du Plessis‚ diving in front of first slip Hashim Amla‚ failed to hold the low‚ dipping catch offered by Peter Nevill.

Rabada left the field two overs later‚ and shortly afterwards he was seen in the dressingroom with an ice pack strapped to his right shoulder.

That sparked fears that Rabada would join Dale Steyn — who was ruled out for six months on Friday with a broken shoulder — on South Africa’s injury list.

But team management said Rabada was resting‚ and he reappeared in time to bowl two more overs before lunch.

During Rabada’s absence Temba Bavuma was called on to bowl his medium pace for the first time in his 12 tests — and hit Khawaja’s pads bang in front of the stumps with his first delivery.

But umpire Nigel Llong had called no-ball and replays proved him correct.

Khawaja fell three overs later to another part-timer‚ off-spinner JP Duminy‚ who found the gap between bat and pad and had the left-hander leg-before for 97.

Rabada completed his five-wicket haul seven balls before lunch when Mitchell Marsh was adjudged adjacent.

Peter Siddle went the same way to Vernon Philander in the ninth over of the second session‚ but Peter Nevill and Josh Hazlewood held up South Africa’s progress for 20.3 overs with a stand of 65.

The partnership was worth 22 when Bavuma at short leg dropped a difficult chance to dismiss Hazlewood off Duminy’s bowling.

The stand had grown to 60 when Bavuma knew how Duminy felt after Hazlewood edged one of his deliveries only for Amla at slip to grass the catch when 60 runs

It was left to Bavuma to end the partnership by claiming his first test wicket via Hazlewood’s leading edge and a catch by Dean Elgar in the covers.

Debutant left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj ended the match by trapping Nathan Lyon in front‚ which left Nevill undefeated on 60.

The second test‚ at Bellerive Oval in Hobart‚ starts on Saturday.

— TMG Digital

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