It is hard to think of a Test match more captivating, and given the circumstances, it is surely one of the finest performances in South Africa’s history in the longer format.
At the end of day one the Proteas had been bowled out for 232 while a David Warner-inspired Australia were sitting pretty on 105/0.
At that point, a South African triumph seemed highly unlikely and then almost impossible when Dale Steyn walked off injured on day two with the Aussies just one wicket down.
But Rabada, Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj put in inspiring displays to restrict Australia to just 234 in their first dig.
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Monday belonged to Rabada, who picked up two wickets in the morning session as he claimed his 4th five-wicket haul in Test cricket and the Proteas closed in on victory.
Being forced to bowl a lot of overs in the absence of seam ace Dale Steyn, this Rabada display is already being considered one of the finest ever seen by a South African quick.
By lunch, he had bowled 24 of the 84 overs in the innings with figures of 5/73.
JP Duminy also took a wicket with his first ball as the Proteas, needing six wickets to win at the start of the day, went into lunch with Australia 263/7.
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Rabada had Mitch Marsh out LBW in the 8th over of the day.
Umpire Aleem Dar’s original decision was ‘not out’ as it looked like Marsh had got bat on a vicious in-swinging yorker.
The South African review, though, was successful and the Proteas had their breakthrough.
Usman Khawaja, meanwhile, was looking dangerous from the other end.
The left-hander, under his own pressures in terms of securing a place in this side, was in a positive mood throughout.
He had started the day on 58* and had moved fluently to get to 97* before Duminy was introduced into the attack and struck immediately.
Khawaja perhaps anticipated it to turn more, but the result was a straight one from Duminy that hit the batsman on the back pad.
Khawaja was given out and immediately went upstairs, but again the DRS worked in South Africa’s favour.
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Rabada then had number five when he had Mitchell Starc trapped LBW for 13.
At lunch Australia were still 276 runs away from victory with Peter Nevill (20*) and Peter Siddle (0*) at the crease.
Philander had his first wicket of the innings soon after the interval when he had Siddle (13) trapped LBW.
There was some Aussie resilience in the form of Nevill and Josh Hazleweood, who combined for a stand of 65 for the 9th wicket.
Rabada’s pace, understandably so, had dropped considerably and it was Temba Bavuma of all people who provided the breakthrough when he had Hazlewood caught by Dean Elgar for 29.
Maharaj then wrapped things up with his first wicket of the innings when he had Nathan Lyon out LBW for 8 and the Aussies were bowled out for 361.
– News24 Wire