Faf: AB & Rabada were at a different level in this Test
Calcutta/Port Elizabeth: Kagiso Rabada finished with 11 wickets in the match as South Africa beat Australia by six wickets in the second Test on Monday to level the four-match series.
South Africa made a bit of a heavy work of reaching their modest target of 101, before captain Faf du Plessis (2) and Theunis de Bruyn (11) guided them to 102 for four.
However, South Africa's worries going into the next two Tests centre mostly around Rabada who has been suspended and ruled out of the remainder of the series for "inappropriate and deliberate contact" with Australia captain Steve Smith.
"It's a disappointment because you want to have your best players in the series," said captain Du Plessis.
The 22-year-old Rabada was the outstanding performer on Monday as he ripped through Australia, who resumed the fourth day on 180 for five with a 41-run lead. He completed figures of six for 54 and a match aggregate of 11 for 150, the fourth time he has taken 10 or more wickets in a Test.
"Australia were never going to give in easily, so you had to go to the reserve tank and give your best," Rabada said after being named Man of the Match.
Du Plessis had lavished praise on Rabada and AB de Villiers. "Kagiso is absolutely a champion bowler and am really proud of him. AB and he were at a different level in this game.
"AB looked like he was batting on a different wicket compared to all the other batsmen... Really good to see him in top form again... He was really, really hungry for runs. I'm certainly looking forward to him playing a huge part in the upcoming games," Du Plessis said after things up inside four days.
He added: "As I had said before this game, Rabada and (Mitchell) Starc would be the two bowlers to look out for and they would be the ones to get excessive reverse swing since they are exceptional bowlers."
Du Plessis also lauded the efforts of Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla, both of whom battled tough conditions on Day II of the Test, building South Africa's platform to take a first-innings lead. "Our character is our strongest asset."
The visitors lost Mitchell Marsh (45) in the first over as Rabada uprooted his middle stump, before Pat Cummins (five) was well caught in the gully by De Bruyn. Rabada got his third in quick succession as Mitchell Starc (one) edged an attempted drive to Quinton de Kock.
Lungi Ngidi (two for 24) had Nathan Lyon (five) caught by De Kock, before Tim Paine (28 not out) and Josh Hazlewood (17) added 28 for the final wicket as the Australian second innings ended on 239.