So while Rabada helped to force New Zealand to stare down the barrel of defeat in the second Test, the 21-year-old also sent a real warning to Australia ahead of an upcoming five-match ODI series in South Africa, and more importantly the three-Test series Down Under in November.
With his smooth action at full throttle, Rabada bowled with terrific pace and control. He terrorised the Black Caps with his speed, mixing up fullish deliveries with well-directed bouncers that had the Kiwis hopping as he beat the bat on a number of occasions, and edges flew the slip region.
His fourth ball of the day, to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, nearly rolled back on to the stumps after the visitors’ best batsman thought he had blocked it successfully down the pitch.
The manner in which he set up his first wicket of the match was a thing of beauty. Rabada sent down a 150km/h bouncer which left-hander Henry Nicholls (36) just about negotiated to short leg, and then brought in a few leg-side catchers to suggest that more “ear music” was about to be delivered.
Instead, Rabada went full, hitting Nicholls’ back leg, and yet Australian umpire Paul Reiffel failed to answer the appeal in the affirmative. The Proteas immediately reviewed it, and the replay showed that it was plumb lbw.
The former SA Under-19 World Cup winner got rid of Doug Bracewell (18) in similar fashion, but the big fish was Williamson, New Zealand’s best batsman.
Before that, though, there was time for revenge against Neil Wagner, the former Pretoria left-arm seamer who “bombed” the Proteas relentlessly in claiming 5/86 in 39 hard-working overs. Rabada drew blood immediately, striking Wagner on the helmet, and he followed it up with two more in the same over with the ball 53 overs old.
Rabada should’ve had his man in the next over when another vicious bouncer saw Wagner waft his bat at it as he avoided danger, with Faf du Plessis diving forward at second slip, but the umpires asked for a possible no-ball to be checked, and the South African had overstepped.
But it was Williamson that Rabada wanted, and he ended the innings by getting the New Zealand skipper caught behind with another quick short ball to end with figures of 3/62 in 16.3 overs.
Proteas coach Russell Domingo would’ve been delighted to see the “old firm” of Dale Steyn (3/66 in 20 overs) and Vernon Philander (2/43 in 15) bowling with good pace, swing and seam again after they missed most of a torrid last Test season to help dismiss New Zealand for 214 in their first innings, with the Proteas ending the day 372 runs ahead as they lost some quick wickets to finish on 105/6.
But Steve Smith’s Australians haven’t faced Rabada in the five-day game (they only faced him in the ODI triangular in the West Indies in June), and will do well to heed the notice from legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne, who tweeted on Monday: “Rabada from South Africa is a quality bowler, he will enjoy bowling in Australia this summer & make the Aussie boys jump around!”
Australia will travel to South Africa next month for five ODIs from September 30 onwards, with the Proteas going in the opposite direction for a three-Test series that starts at the Waca in Perth on November 3.
@ashfakmohamedKagiso Rabada sent a serious warning to Australia ahead of the ODI and Test series with a terrific display of fast bowling against New Zealand on Monday.
Original source: Warne: Rabada will make Aussies jump around