South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada celebrates with teammates after getting the wicket of Virat Kohli of India during day 1 of the third Test at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town on Tuesday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada celebrates with teammates after getting the wicket of Virat Kohli of India during day 1 of the third Test at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town on Tuesday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

’I’m feeling good about the way I bowled,’ says Kagiso Rabada after blowing India away

By Zaahier Adams Time of article published Jan 11, 2022

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Cape Town — Test cricket at Newlands has been a glaring absence on the South African cricket calendar for the past two years.

There are few that will argue that it is the home of the purest form of the game in this country. And when it finally returned – albeit without spectators – on Tuesday with Table Mountain covered in its traditional tablecloth, it was only fitting that it served up a gripping first day of this series-decider that can sit comfortably among the many great days this hallowed ground has witnessed over the years.

For such quality of cricket to be produced, it needs the great players to take centre stage. And that’s exactly what Proteas talisman Kagiso Rabada and Indian captain Virat Kohli duly produced.

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Both have been under a dark cloud of late for not delivering to their usual high standards – Kohli has not scored a century in two years and Rabada has taken just one “five-for” in the same period – but it is when the stakes are at the highest that the true legends stand up.

And that’s exactly what these two titans of the modern era did in an engrossing battle. Fully-charged up with the support of a surface that was providing ample assistance, Rabada zoned in on Kohli from the Wynberg End.

The period between the 47th and the 49th overs were particularly special, but unlike in previous Tests where Kohli was prone to wafting outside the off stump, the Indian skipper remained disciplined. And when Kohli did actually edge the ball, it fell short of the slip cordon.

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Ultimately Rabada was not to be denied, though, as he eventually claimed Kohli’s wicket after returning after a much-needed breather later in the afternoon. It was not the execution of a perfect plan, but rather persistence that ultimately brought success.

“I think it was pretty obvious,” Rabada said of his gameplan to Kohli.

“I didn’t really want to go for the pads. I was trying to get the ball to swing away because that’s where he was getting out. I think that is why he was very patient in leaving balls. I think he batted extremely well, but the plan was just to bowl a good line and length. Sometimes people think we have plans that are so wicked.

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“I had a good day and things went my way. I wouldn't say it was perfect but I very seldom think that. Generally what we try to do is be as consistent as possible. Every day, we just try and do the same thing, nothing really changes. Things went my way. I'm feeling good about the way I bowled, I felt decent out there."

Rabada felt the entire Proteas attack were “relentless and resilient” in dismissing India for 223 after the visitors had won the toss and elected to bat, but believes there is still hard work ahead for the batting unit to press home any advantage the bowlers might have accrued.

"Obviously, we would have liked to win the toss, but I think we did well to restrict them to 220 (sic), but I think we are going to have to bat well.

The game is in the balance, we would've liked to win the toss, but we did well to restrict them to 220 and we've got to bat well,” he said.

"We'll have to see what happens... It looks like a proper Test cricket wicket where batters have to grind but you still have to bowl well. I don't think it'll change too much.”

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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