Rabada stars as Proteas complete Perth hat trick


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KAGISO RABADA claimed his fourth five-wicket haul – all in the current calendar year – to bowl the Standard Bank Proteas to their third successive Perth Test victory over Australia at the WACA on Monday. The winning margin was 177 runs with almost a full session to spare following victories by six wickets in 2008 and by 309 runs in 2012. It was Australia’s first home Test defeat since the WACA match against the Proteas in 2012 and their fourth defeat in a row following their 3-0 series loss in Sri Lanka and puts them under a lot of pressure heading to the second Test at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval from Saturday. Rabada has now taken 34 wickets in only 6 matches this year – one of which was the weather-ruined match against New Zealand at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead – to be in seventh place among leading wicket-takers and has played fewer matches than anybody else. Remarkably his second dismissal in the second innings – that of Australian captain Steve Smith – was only the 100th wicket of his entire first-class career. Rabada made the key initial breakthrough on the final day when he trapped Mitchell Marsh lbw, opening the way to the lower-order, and then completed his five-wicket haul by dismissing Mitchell Starc with a superb Yorker length delivery.
Usman Khawaja delayed the inevitable in, like David Warner, making 97 (182 balls, 11 fours and 3 sixes) before falling to JP Duminy.
It was left to Peter Neville (60 not out, 153 balls, 6 fours) to marshalll the tail and there was a frustrating wait as Neville and Josh Hazlewood held out for almost 21 overs. In the end it was Temba Bavuma who claimed his maiden Test wicket, showing that he has as golden an arm as Duminy when it comes to breaking stands. There were a couple of half-chances that didn’t go to hand before Keshav Maharaj finished the job with the fifth lbw of the innings. Rabada was named Man of the Match with other strong candidates being the centurions, Duminy and Dean Elgar. It ranks as one of South Africa’s most famous victories against Australia coming from the brink of a disastrous situation on the second morning and accomplished without the services of the attack leader for most of the match. Interestingly, it was the injury to Dale Steyn that seemed to galvanize the Proteas into their dramatic turn around and says a great deal about what the great fast bowler means to the team. As Vernon Philander remarked during one TV interview: “We are going to win it for Dale.”
And do it they did in the most handsome style imaginable.
There will also be a lot of satisfaction to be drawn from Bavuma performing one of the great run outs of all time – certainly the best one has ever seen on TV – the return to top all-round form of Philander and the confident debut of Keshav Maharaj who looks like developing into another bowling all-rounder.

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