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"The game is in the balance" - Kagiso Rabada says South Africa must bat well to capitalize on bowling gains

Kagiso Rabada celebrates the wicket of Mayank Agarwal. Pic: Getty Images
Kagiso Rabada celebrates the wicket of Mayank Agarwal. Pic: Getty Images

South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has stated that the hosts must bat well in their first innings to gain the upper hand in the deciding Test against India in Cape Town. According to the pacer, despite the Proteas cleaning up India for 223 on Day 1, the game remains in the balance owing to the challenging batting conditions.

Rabada was the star performer, with figures of 4 for 73, as South Africa rolled India over in 77.3 overs on Tuesday. In response, the hosts lost skipper Dean Elgar for 3 and went to Stumps at 17 for 1.

Speaking at the end of an absorbing day’s Test cricket, Rabada opined that South Africa aren’t in the driver’s seat as of now. The 26-year-old explained:

“The game is in the balance. Obviously, we would have liked to win the toss. But we did well to restrict them for 223 but we are going to have to bat well.”

Speaking about the conditions, he stated:

“There's still a quite a bit in that wicket. We don't have any control over the conditions. It looks a perfect Test wicket where batters have to grind. I think it's not going to change much tomorrow.”

Rabada came up with a memorable bowling performance in his 50th Test. He dismissed three top Indian batters in Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. Despite this, the fast bowler refused to term it as a ‘perfect day’ for him. He explained:

“Very seldom you get a perfect day. I had a good day and things went my way. Generally, what we try to do is to be consistent as possible going into every game. Just tried to do the same things, nothing changes. Today things went my way I think I'm feeling good about the way I bowled. I was feeling decent out there.”

Apart from Rabada, young Marco Jansen impressed again with 3 for 55. Praising the talented left-arm seamer, Rabada said Jansen has the X-factor and also described him as an exciting prospect for South Africa.

Rahane falls for 9!Rabada with the nagging line induces the edge, and India are now 116/4. Rishabh Pant walks in 🔥Watch #SAvIND live on ICC.tv (in select regions)#WTC23 | bit.ly/SAvIND-T3 https://t.co/9a8V1npFzi

“Well done to him” - Kagiso Rabada praises Virat Kohli

The most engrossing phase of play on Day 1 in Cape Town was when Rabada was up against Indian captain Virat Kohli. Short on runs and having missed the last Test, Kohli was under pressure to deliver. He faced a stern examination from Rabada. And while Kohli eventually fell to the South African pacer, he scored a valuable 79.

The Proteas fast bowler said of his bowling plans against Kohli:

"The plan was to bowl good line and length. It was pretty obvious to try to swing away as he was going out that way. He was very patient at leaving the ball. He batted extremely well, well done to him."
Virat Kohli is caught behind 😲The wait for his first century since November 2019 goes on – Rabada snares the big wicket, and the India captain walks back for 79.India 211/9.Watch #SAvIND live on ICC.tv (in select regions)#WTC23 | bit.ly/SAvIND-T3 https://t.co/w1QE3fvOVq

Apart from Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara (43) and Rishabh Pant (27) were the only Indian batters to offer some resistance on Day 1 in Cape Town.

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Edited by Sai Krishna
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