Rabada sees off Warner as Australia struggles to 86-3
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AP) David Warner was in the midst of it again, this time on the receiving end of another over-the-top celebration from South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada, as Australia battled to 86-3, still 53 runs behind in the second test on Sunday.
Speedster Rabada bowled Warner for 13, then let loose a scream right in the face of the Aussie batsman, as South Africa started to take a stranglehold on the match on Day 3 in Port Elizabeth.
Lungi Ngidi took a second wicket, forcing Cameron Bancroft to play on for 24, and spinner Keshav Maharaja snared Steve Smith for 11 to leave the Australians up against it.
Australia leads the four-test series 1-0 but is facing a South African fightback at St. George’s Park.
Usman Khawaja was 28 not out at tea and Shaun Marsh 1 not out.
Rabada, recently ranked the No. 1 bowler in test cricket, is already facing a disciplinary hearing at this game for bumping into Australia captain Smith after dismissing him in the first innings. Rabada could be banned for the rest of the series for that incident if he is found guilty of making contact with Smith intentionally.
His excessive send-off of Warner on Sunday was another contentious moment in an ill-tempered series so far.
Warner was at the center of an aggressive fielding display by the Australians in the first test in Durban, where his on-field verbal battle with South Africa’s Quinton de Kock boiled over with an ugly confrontation between the players on a staircase near the dressing rooms.
Three players – Warner, teammate Nathan Lyon and de Kock – were charged with misconduct and sanctioned for their misbehavior in the first game.
At the start of Day 3 in Port Elizabeth, AB de Villiers’ 126 not out pushed South Africa’s first-innings lead over Australia to 139. De Villiers’ 22nd test century, set up on Day 2 and completed early on Day 3, took South Africa to 382 all out in reply to Australia’s 243.
The South Africa No. 4 put his team ahead after it was 183-6 on Saturday afternoon. He was the anchor in late partnerships of 44 with de Kock, 84 with Vernon Philander (36) and 58 off just 43 balls with Maharaj (30) to keep South Africa going.
The 34-year-old de Villiers, one of the best players of his generation, is nearing the end of his test career and there’s speculation that this might even be his last series.
He hit 20 fours and a six in his century, going to 100 with a boundary down to third man. He reached 100 off just 117 balls, a free-flowing innings that made batting look much easier than it really was, especially with the ball reverse swinging on Day 2.
De Villiers also passed 8,500 test runs during the innings, the fourth South African after Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla to do that. This was de Villiers’ first test century since January 2015 having taken nearly two years out of test cricket in an effort to prolong his career. He returned to tests late last year.
Dean Elgar and Amla made half-centuries on the second day to contribute to South Africa’s total. Pat Cummins was Australia’s best bowler with 3-79.