WATCH: Kagiso Rabada: Being Proteas primary weapon not a heavy burden

Proteas paceman Kagiso Rabada celebrates a wicket with teammate Dean Elgar against India.

Proteas paceman Kagiso Rabada celebrates a wicket with teammate Dean Elgar against India. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix

Published Dec 27, 2023


Kagiso Rabada has been given the mandate to chase wickets for Proteas and he did just that on the first day of their two Test series against India at Centurion on Tuesday.

The new-ball bowler produced outstanding figures of 5/44 in 17 overs as he reduced India to 208/8 when bad light followed by rain stopped play after South Africa won the toss.

It was Rabada's 14th five-wicket haul in his 61st Test and his fourth in eight Tests at Centurion, but his first against India.

"Temba [captain Bavuma] goes with his gut feel as to what the best way to get a wicket is and there is always that expectation on me," said Rabada.

"It's my job, and all I want to do is take wickets. It's not a heavy burden for me.

"I was pretty happy with the way I bowled.

"What I try to do on any pitch is just put the ball in the right area over and over again, but sometimes you can bowl in the right area and not be so successful.

"Today was my day.

"I've been pretty focused in my training and the ball has been coming out nicely, my body and mind have felt good. So I came into the Test quite confident.

"India have a quality batting line-up and we would have taken 208 for eight before the start of play, having sent them in to bat. We're happy with that."

While left-arm quick Nandre Burger made an encouraging debut with 2/50 in 15 overs, South Africa's other seamers lacked consistency and India were also satisfied with their position.

Wicketkeeper KL Rahul led the way with a fine 70 not out, making light of the testing batting conditions with 10 fours and two sixes.

"KL (Rahul) was doing what he always does," India batting coach Vikram Rathore said.

"Every time we are in a tough situation, he's the one who handles it very well. He had a very clear game-plan and he defended the right balls.

"It was always going to be a challenging surface, having been under the covers for a day or more, and the weather to assist the bowlers was also there.

"We would love to have more wickets in hand, but we have runs on the board and we have done reasonably well."