Johannesburg - Kagiso Rabada described the Proteas’s continued failures with the bat as “frustrating,” but added that he sympathised with his teammates given the lack of experience in that department.
Rabada took eight wickets in the first Test against Australia that finished on Sunday with the home team triumphant, although their pursuit of 34 saw them lose four wickets.
South Africa were bowled out for 152 in their first innings and 99 in their second on what players - both current and former - described as a “spicy” Gabba pitch. The surface did nothing for the confidence of the Proteas batters, who have now failed to pass 200 in each of the last six Test innings they have played.
“The batting line-up we have is inexperienced, in fact the team is relatively inexperienced compared to other nations,” said Rabada. “Dean Elgar is our most experienced player, followed by myself and Temba.”
“It can get frustrating and when I say that, it is not to single out the batters, it’s frustrating as a team,” Rabada explained.
Elgar (80), Bavuma (52) and Rabada (55) are the only players with more than 50 Test caps in the team that started the Gabba Test. Among the batters, Rassie van der Dussen with 18 Tests is the next most experienced and the current series is his first tour to Australia.
“You have to understand that sometimes this is what happens in a rebuilding phase. I played in a team with a star-studded lineup, but that doesn’t happen frequently,” said Rabada.
“Now, the situation that we are faced with, there’s a whole lot of players who’ve come in and have the ability, but need to get used to the international circuit. There needs to be an element of patience and understanding, but at the same time you can’t be advocating for bad performances.”
That may have been the case in some of the other poor displays from the Proteas batters. The Gabba provided mitigating circumstances as did the first Test in Christchurch against New Zealand, when they battled with recovery from the strict isolation period and then even in the third Test against England which was played on a seamer’s track.
Many of the batters would argue - and in the case of Van der Dussen have done so - that South Africa has drawn the short end of the straw when it comes to the pitches they have played on in the last 18 months. In that period there have been only three centuries from the Proteas, with one of those made by Quinton de Kock, who has since retired from the format.
Rabada will, however, leave Brisbane pleased with his efforts especially the manner in which he bowled in Australia’s second innings when he picked up all four wickets.
“He is a massive figure for us in the squad,” said Elgar. “When he puts his hand up like that it's difficult not to follow. What you will find is that it got [Anrich] Nortje fired up and he was starting to crank it up even more. Those are nice things to have. Hopefully that can inspire the batting unit to get their heads right.”
Rabada said the batters have to believe in themselves more. “We understand that no one is going out to the centre to throw their wicket away. You have to have belief.”