No AB de Villiers, virtually no Dale Steyn and only 1 run from Hashim Amla… yet South Africa have thrashed a full-strength Australia.
This raises two clear points:
- Australia is a mediocre cricket side
- South Africa have a strong squad with fabulous new talent
To be fair Australia displayed some fight on the fifth day. Khawaja’s 97, Peter Nevill’s four hour 60 not out and the tail’s resistance showed some much-needed spine. South Africa deserve the accolades though.
Man of the Match Kagiso Rabada. Wow. The 21-year-old from Johannesburg averages under 25 with the ball from his first 9 Tests and looks a real gem.
Rabada first attracted interest in Australia in 2014 when he played for South Africa A at Townsville’s Tony Ireland Riverway Stadium, a possible venue for a home Test against Bangladesh in 2017.
Rabada became a cult hero with local fans from Norths Cricket Club in Townsville who enjoyed the youngster’s raw pace and fire.
Two years later Rabada slaughtered Australia’s Test top order at Perth. Quick, accurate, swung it both ways and demonstrated he has a great attitude. He took the time to shake Usman Khawaja’s hand when he was dismissed for 97, a sign of maturity and good character, and accepted the man of the match award with great humility.
After Steyn’s withdrawal Rabada shouldered a big workload with seam partner Vernon Philander who – as an overweight medium pacer – continues to defy the odds and take lots of wickets. But its the young guys that will excite South Africans.
Rabada spearheaded a group of five under 30 who made definitive contributions in Perth; Maharaj, de Kock, Elgar and Bavuma. The future looks bright for Protea cricket.
Australia’s youth appears less convincing. Channel 9’s lunchtime cricket show ran a feature on Pat Cummins. The story focused on the injury-riddled pace bowler’s recovery from injury… again.
We all hope this young man sorts his body out. But the Cummins story has been running a long time.
He has played eight First Class matches and one Test Match since 2011. Maybe its time to move on and focus on nurturing some of the lads from the youth teams? Or feature stories from the Sheffield Shield?
In other cricketing news; India host England for five Test matches beginning on Wednesday in Rajkot.
It will be a fascinating series. England beat India 2-1 last time they toured but England’s recent 1-1 draw with Bangladesh and a reinvigorated India under Virat Kohli indicates that a thrilling series is about to begin.
Australia’s next Test against South Africa begins in Hobart on Saturday.
(This article first appeared on Cricket Froth on 7/11/16)