AB de Villiers sympathises with Kagiso Rabada but says he has to be more careful with his celebrations.
De Villiers was referring to the ICC charge that could see Rabada banned for two Tests. This seemed to have riled up the 22-year-old as he led the Proteas’ bowling attack and toppled three key Australian batsmen.
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Rabada dismissed David Warner (13), Shaun Marsh (1) and Usman Khawaja (75).
Despite striking early on, the Proteas’ 139-run lead proved its value after an 87-run recovery stand between Khawaja and Mitchell Marsh. But Rabada broke the partnership with the wicket of Khawaja, which put the Proteas in a strong position to win the match.
Australia ended the day on 180-5, with a lead of just 41.
Rabada’s wicket of Warner produced a fierce, fiery send-off which saw him screaming down the track – one we have become accustomed to from the Proteas speedster.
When asked about Rabada’s aggression, De Villiers said the bowler needed to learn from his mistakes.
‘He’s got to be smarter and he knows that. I don’t know what’s going to happen with him after this Test. If he’s around for the next Test, he would have learned from his mistakes,’ said De Villiers.
‘There were a lot of emotions from the last Test going into this one. As a fast bowler, you want to prove things to people and show everyone that you belong on this stage.
‘Like I said, in a way, I understand. Dale [Steyn], when he’s on fire you don’t know what’s going on in his mind, you just see eyes and all sorts of stuff. Luckily for him [Steyn], he’s never crossed that line because we get to him. So we will try to get to KG before he does the damage.’
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Rabada’s participation in the remainder of the series now lies in the hands of the ICC.
They sent out a tweet after the day’s play saying: ‘ICC Match Referee Jeff Crowe conducted the Code of Conduct hearing with South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada after the third day’s play in Port Elizabeth. Mr Crowe has 24 hours to arrive at a decision on the level 2 breach, which will be announced in due course via the usual channels.’
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