Kagiso Rabada will get better, but now Dane Piedt needs to step up. SuperSport analysts Shaun Pollock and Kepler Wessels review the third day’s play in the fourth Test against England.
On Kagiso Rabada
Pollock: ‘I said before play it would be tough to get the eight wickets they need. It looked really good for batting, but the key was Rabada, and the three wickets he picked up before lunch. He has his feet firmly on the ground. You need to be aware in Test cricket, and the fact that he was going for a few runs affected him. We weren’t particularly concerned because he was picking up wickets, but [as he said in his interview] in his own mind, he was aware he was giving away a few boundaries and he appreciated the efforts of Kyle Abbott and Morne Morkel to pull that back.
‘That shows he has a good head on his shoulders. He shows an appreciation of the game and an understanding of what is required to keep on performing well. He is going to learn more and get more stamina, and can only go from strength to strength.’
Wessels: ‘He is impressive for his consistency. He is learning from each outing and getting better every time. He is going to get quicker and stronger and more of a handful as time goes on. One of the aspects of a young bowler is that you come in with no ambitions, you don’t don’t know what can go wrong. It’s only as your career progresses that you start worrying about certain things, so in that way, ignorance is bliss: you just run up and concentrate ball by ball and things happen for you. You can either be overawed by it all or you can be like a guy like him who gives it his best shot.’
On the state of play
Wessels: ‘When you have a healthy lead, and nine wickets in hand with two days to go, you are controlling the game. So bat for another two sessions; if you are batting well, you will get a hundred in each session and that will be more than enough. I think anything in excess of 280 is enough: the wicket is getting worse, going up and down, so they can do it, provided they have a full quota of bowlers.’
Pollock: ‘270 would be difficult; the magical figure would be 300. But we have just two seamers [if Abbott is injured] so the spinners will play a big part. It’s going to be a big innings for Dane Piedt; he is going to have to answer the call. Sometimes as a spinner you can hide and have a bit of sheltered employment, but not this time. He is going to have to lead from the front and pick up three of the top six and wrap things up at the tail. It’s a big day for him.’