When Kagiso Rabada bowled South Africa to victory in the first test at the Waca, Faf du Plessis gave him a hug and a smile and turned to a room crowded with reporters.
“I’m sleeping with him tonight,” Du Plessis said.
Yesterday, after Kyle Abbott took 6/77 to complete a match haul of 9/118 that had plenty to do with South Africa winning the second test and the series in Hobart, he found himself the recipient of his captain’s romantic embrace.
It was a continuing sign of a turnaround in South Africa’s attitude to the game after several difficult years.
For instance, this time last year they were getting their backsides kicked in India, where the pitches cheated them out of a fair shot at even contesting the test series.
Tainted though that result was, there was no doubting that England were the better team in the test series that followed in South Africa.
Swings and roundabout results in various subsequent short-format series did not count formuch but faith flickered afresh when Australia were hammered 5-0 in a one-day rubber hosted in South Africa last month.
And now this.
South Africa’s performance at the Waca was impressive enough, what with Dean Elgar and JP Duminy scoring centuries and Rabada taking a five-wicket haul.
But beating Australia in fewer than seven sessions of actual play, which South Africa did in Hobart, took things to another level.
“We never thought we would get close to bowling them out in a session,” Abbott said of South Africa taking eight wickets for 32 runs yesterday.
“From the start of a test we speak about winning in the last session, taking it deep and being patient.”
“So when things speed up like that it, it is rewarding. But we bowled really well [on Monday] evening, and that was our investment session for [yesterday] morning.”
“We knew that we were one or two balls away from cracking open that middle order and it was proved [yesterday] morning.”