South Africa lose Elgar in 101 chase after Rabada six-for

South Africa

Lunch South Africa 382 and 22 for 1 (Markram 17*) need another 79 runs to beat Australia 243 and 239 (Khawaja 75, Rabada 6-54)
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South Africa were well on their way to levelling the series 1-1 at lunch on the fourth day in Port Elizabeth, where Kagiso Rabada ripped through Australia’s lower order to complete a ten-wicket haul. Australia were all out for 239, which left South Africa chasing 101 for victory, and by lunch they had progressed to 22 for 1, with Aiden Markram unbeaten on 17, having just lost opening partner Dean Elgar on the stroke of lunch.

Elgar was out for 5, caught and bowled by Nathan Lyon off a leading edge in similar fashion to his dismissal in South Africa’s first innings of the series in Durban. Australia had also had a chance to snare Markram on 7, when his edge off Josh Hazlewood was put down at first slip by Mitchell Marsh, and if Australia were going to have any chance of pulling off a miracle win, they needed to take every opportunity that came their way.

Australia had started the morning on 180 for 5, leading by 41 runs and desperately needing some strong fight from the tail in order to set South Africa a vaguely competitive target. However, they could add only 59 more runs for the loss of the last five wickets.

The key wicket was that of Mitchell Marsh, the last of the Australian top six, and Rabada accounted for him in the first over of the day by nipping a quick delivery in to rattle his stumps and end his innings on 45. Rabada followed by having Pat Cummins caught for 5 when he steered a catch to Theunis de Bruyn at gully, and that confirmed Rabada’s second five-wicket innings of the match and the fourth ten-for of his career.

To put that in perspective, Rabada has taken only 28 Tests to achieve four ten-wicket matches. Among South Africans, only Dale Steyn has more ten-fors than Rabada, but his five have taken 86 Tests. Makhaya Ntini also did it four times, but from 101 Tests, and Allan Donald managed only three ten-wicket matches from his 72-Test career. However, Rabada’s success only further highlighted how much he will be missed if he is suspended for the remainder of the series for Code of Conduct breaches.

He took his match tally to 11 by having Mitchell Starc caught behind, before the final two wickets fell to other bowlers. Lungi Ngidi had Nathan Lyon caught behind and Keshav Maharaj had Josh Hazlewood caught at deep midwicket to leave Tim Paine unbeaten on 28 as Australia were dismissed for 239, having added only 59 to their overnight total for the loss of their last five wickets.

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