Kagiso Rabada says South Africa must learn from their mistakes in order to get back into the second Test against England.
England finished day one on 317-5 after an aggressive Ben Stokes attacked the new ball without fear in the final 30 minutes before stumps.
None of the bowlers really stood out consistently but Rabada did manage to take 3-74 and took vital wickets before and after tea to keep South Africa in the game.
‘It’s a good cricket wicket,’ Rabada said at the press conference after the day’s play. ‘It was very tough. The margin for error is small on a wicket like this and you’re bowling to good players as well. And on top of that, I haven’t been bowling fit, so it was a bit of a fight out there but it went OK.’
Rabada’s first wicket came courtesy of a magnificent catch by debutant Chris Morris in the slips, who dived to his left for a one-handed snap to get rid of Alastair Cook.
‘I needed that magnificent catch by Chris after the start I had,’ Rabada said.
‘There was something in the wicket. It was tough bowling from the Kelvin Grove end because you are running into the wind. There was a bit more bounce from the Wynberg end so there are a few things to work on, but we know what they are; we have assessed the day and hopefully we can implement it tomorrow.
‘I thought I was a little erratic with the ball. I was struggling for rhythm. I haven’t bowled since India but I thought Morris bowled really well at the start to Cook. I thought we improved as a bowling unit as the day went on. It’s not easy to bowl on that wicket.’
Stokes (74 not out) took the initiative away from South Africa in this final overs as England scored 46 runs in between the 80th and 85th over after the Proteas had immediately taken the new ball.
‘At the end Ben Stokes was attacking us. He got a bit lucky scoring some runs, so we will look to learn from our mistakes.
‘We knew after tea that we needed to get wickets quickly. When the second new ball came I thought it was our chance to get some wickets. I don’t know why Morne [Morkel] didn’t take the second new ball. I don’t know what Hashim’s thoughts were at that time.’
Amla gave the second new ball to Morris and Rabada and only introduced Morkel into the attack after six overs. On top of that he set a very conservative field with only two slips and no gully or backward point.
‘Stokes was playing some shots but Bairstow was calmer. Having said that, Stokes was in and with the new ball being harder and travelling faster, he took his chances,’ Rabada said.
‘He drove one off Morris which went straight to gully [but there wasn’t one] so they played some shots but we’ll have to be tight and hopefully knock them over quickly.’
It was clear on Saturday how much South Africa are missing Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, who are injured. It has left Amla with a very inexperienced bowling attack but Rabada doesn’t feel it adds any pressure.
‘I don’t feel any pressure at all. It’s an opportunity to play so I’m going to try and make the most of it. I think Morris feels the same way. No-one is under pressure. We came here to play and we’re going to play hard. Two or three wickets tomorrow morning and we’re in it.’