South Africa's Kagiso Rabada celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of India's Shardul Thakur (not seen) during the fourth day of the first Test cricket match at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/AFP
South Africa's Kagiso Rabada celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of India's Shardul Thakur (not seen) during the fourth day of the first Test cricket match at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/AFP

’We have to show belief that we can still win,’ says Proteas’ Kagiso Rabada

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Dec 29, 2021

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Centurion — As much as they’ve caused him and his teammates so many problems, Kagiso Rabada certainly respects the Indian bowlers and the performances they’ve produced in the first Test.

India is still in the driving seat heading into the final day, needing just six more wickets to take the lead in the three match series. Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj, India’s three frontline seamers have been superb, and were quicker to sum up conditions here and put the ball in the right areas more consistently than their South African counterparts.

“They have pace, they have skill and they are showing why they are a good attack,” Rabada said on Wednesday.

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All three picked up wickets on the fourth day as South Africa finished on 94/4 in pursuit of 305 to win the first Test. On a surface offering assistance to the fast bowlers, through movement off the seam but especially via variable bounce, India have utilised the conditions better over the course of the match.

It took South Africa a full session on the first day to assess where to bowl and as a result India got over 300 in their first innings.

Rabada acknowledged that the Proteas attack, which features a debutant in Marco Jansen, were flummoxed by the slowness of the pitch on the first day, but since then, as the pitch has hardened, they’ve made the necessary adjustments, to put India’s batters under pressure too.

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“It’s quickened up, so the movement’s just happened quicker, and batsmen have less time to react because the ball shoots through a bit more. I just think we also tightened up on our lines.”

Rabada finished with 4/42 and Jansen with 4/55 as India was bowled out for 174 in their second innings.

There’s been no respite for South Africa’s batters, with Dean Elgar needing every ounce of his survival instincts and toughness in a three hour stay at the crease that saw him reach an 18th Test half century.

ALSO READ: Aiden Markram bowled as India set Proteas 305 to win the first Test in Centurion

“Dean has done this countless times where he shows fight when its the toughest, he showed that today. He’ll feel that his job is not over. He’s out there and doing his best for his team, his country and himself. That’s standard Dean, he’s leading from the front,” said Rabada.

While eyes will be on the weather, with storms forecast for the afternoon, Rabada wasn’t dismissing the possibility that South Africa could still pursue an unlikely victory.

“We have to show belief. We’ll strategise overnight and work out how we want to approach this. We have to believe, every sportsman needs to believe that they can win from any position,” he said.

@shockerhess

IOL Sport

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