Man of the Series Rilee Rossouw admitted that he played with two fractures to his finger when he scored his century in the fifth ODI.
In the squad merely as batting cover on the eve of the series, Rossouw has come out the other side with two fifties, a century, a Man of the Series award and a spot in the Test squad to face Australia next month.
It’s been quite a remarkable couple of weeks for Rossouw, who’s endured a frustrating time of late after dislocating his shoulder. Perhaps that’s why he refused to sit out of the fifth ODI, despite carrying a fracture in two places in his little finger. Hopefully there won’t be any further damage from that injury, but he would say it’s well worth it, as he signed off with a match-winning 122, to all but secure his place in the ODI side with next year’s Chapions Trophy looming.
‘I’m just happy that I’ve been given a chance,’ he told the press on Wednesday night. ‘It’s tough constantly adapting to different batting positions, but if you prepare yourself well enough then there’s no reason not to perform.’
Rossouw appeared a doubt the day before the match with his finger was strapped up and visibly struggling to collect the ball during some ground fielding work.
‘My finger is fractured in a couple of places but it’s alright I guess,’ he said rather nonchalantly. ‘There was a bit of pain, but I did a good job of hiding on the boundary when we were fielding.’
His century came off exactly a run a ball, and it was the third ODI century of his career. He revealed the nerves were starting to set in as he got to the 90s.
‘I told JP [Duminy] when I was on 98 that “I’m pretty nervous right now, I really want these three figures, I’m not going to settle for a big fifty”. When I scored those three figures I was overcome with joy and emotion and relief.’
Rilee’s form was the type of form missing from the Australian camp, where David Warner was the only one who stepped up, emerging as the top run-scorer in the series. Steve Smith’s average of 30.20 was the next best average from the whole squad, with the rest of the top seven scoring a fifty each throughout the series.
The skipper refused to dwell on any excuses, and admitted his side didn’t show up this month.
‘It’s been a disappointing series. We were outplayed in every facet of the game,’ said Smith. ‘It’s been a tough series but hopefully some of the guys can learn.’
‘In terms of our batting we just didn’t put enough partnerships together. Warner was magnificent today. The rest of us just weren’t good enough.’
Smith was also quick to acknowledge how well the opposition had played throughout the five-match epic, Rossouw in particular.
‘The top four really stood out for the Proteas and got big runs consistently. Rossouw had a great series and fully deserves to be Man of the Series. He hits the ball incredibly hard and has done well to come back from that injury to his shoulder.’
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images