A humble Kagiso Rabada says despite taking career-best figures of 7-112, he still doesn’t feel like he has ‘arrived’ on the international scene yet.
Rabada was sensational during England’s first innings on Sunday and helped his team secure a valuable lead of 133 runs. The 20-year-old bowled like the leader of the attack rather than a youngster playing in only his seventh Test.
He also feels he didn’t bowl particularly well, but instead praised his fellow bowlers Kyle Abbott and Morne Morkel.
‘Our plan was just to do the basics,’ Rabada told the media after the third day’s play. ‘We wanted to bowl as many balls as possible in the right areas. Once I got [Joe] Root out, it was a big relief because the day before I was a bit all over the place. Alastair Cook kept hitting me through point, cutting and pulling me. Maybe I was a bit too short so this morning [Sunday] we tried to rectify it and we got our rewards as a bowling unit.
‘I thought Morne and Kyle bowled magnificently well. People kept telling me that Test cricket is the real deal and I think I’ve learned that because there is little margin for error. You have to bowl well for periods of time, not two overs. I’ve learned a lot.’
Luckily for Rabada he has learned a lot while still being effective and taking wickets for his team, an massive contribution in the absence of Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.
‘I don’t think I’ve arrive yet,’ he said. ‘There’s still lots of work to be done. It felt good to take these seven wickets but I felt someone like Kyle and Morne, they bowled so well, if they got the seven wickets then maybe they would have deserved it more than I did. I didn’t think I bowled that well. I think I bowled OK in spells, but they just kept coming. But I’ll take it. I’m happy that I got these seven wickets. At the Wanderers I felt a lot better. I think I bowled pretty well there. Now at Centurion I think it was OK. I’ll take it though, because it doesn’t happen often.’
After scoring 475 South Africa bowled England out for 342. The Proteas will continue day four on 42-1 and Rabada says they are very confident.
‘We’re in a good position. The wicket is deteriorating. It’s not going to be easy to bat last on this wicket. We need to keep building on this lead and take it deep.
‘There’s no target at the moment. We’re just looking to bat and see where we end up. You never know what can happen.’