The home victory against the Brits earlier in the year may not yet be ashes in South Africa, but the Aussie XI needs to turn up the heat lest the Proteas send Aussie hopes up in smoke.
South Africa has shown none of the reticence the Poms displayed on their tour of Australia. Form over the past few years would suggest that tourists seldom do well at cricket, with the exception of South Africa and Australia, where being the hosts has historically not been the advantage it is in say, India.
Some experts say that this is because South African and Australian playing conditions are similar, but Kagiso Rabada and AB de Villiers are having none of the advantage to the tourists business.
The Test series in South Africa is now level at 1 – 1, after the Proteas won by six wickets on Monday, chasing 101 successfully, even though they lost wickets with alarming regularity.
De Villiers was once again the primary protagonist in the affair. He led the chase with a modest 28, but only needed 26 to reach that mark.
The Aussie bowlers seemed to be doing everything right. Nathan Lyon took two wickets, including that of de Villiers. Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins each grabbed one, leaving it up to Proteas’ skipper Faf du Plessis and Theunis de Bruyn to sustain the chase that ultimately led to the South African win to level the series.
Australian Captain Steve Smith afterward told reporters, “They outplayed us in every aspect of the game. AB was unbelievable and probably the big difference in the game. We weren’t too far away though.”
The ominous cloud on the horizon for South Africa is the charges against Kasigo Rabada, who is dealing with his second report of the series, a level-one charge over his send-off of David Warner.
In the Test at Port Elizabeth, Rabada was reported for his physical send-off of Steve Smith. The poor disciplinary record might see Rabada miss the next two Tests.