Kagiso Rabada could pass the 200-wicket mark in Test cricket when South Africa and England square off in Port Elizabeth in the third Test this week.
The pace ace has already claimed 195 scalps and he would become just the seventh South African Test cricketer to cross the 200-wicket milestone should he bag five in Port Elizabeth.
South African bowlers with 200 Test wickets
Pre-empting such milestones might seem a bit frivolous, but as the great Vernon Philander once said: “stats don’t lie”.
And Kagiso Rabada has some stats at St. George’s Park. It’s easy to forget he is just 24 years old, but the quickie hasn’t needed much time to pile on the records.
Rabada has played just four Tests at Port Elizabeth, but he is already the third-leading wicket-taker at the ground for the Proteas. While he’s a little way off leapfrogging Allan Donald for the most wickets by a South African at St. George’s Park, there’s every chance he could snaffle the record in the coming years.
Most wickets by a South African bowler at St. George’s Park
Rabada will have fond memories of the 2018 Test against Australia, where he took six for 54 – the eighth-best figures for any bowler at the ground.
The Port Elizabeth pitch has yielded somewhat mixed results in recent years. In 2018, it was fast and furious in the early stages of the game, before it began cracking up and bringing the spinners into play.
Against Sri Lanka in 2019, though, it was low and slow with only the first innings yielding more than 200 runs for a team and the visitors winning by eight wickets inside three days.
The four-match Test series between South Africa and England is level at one-all.
The Proteas secured a convincing 107-run win in the first Test in Centurion, but England bounced back, winning by 189 runs at Newlands. The large margin belies the tense finish, though. The nail-biting fixture went deep into the fifth day, with South Africa coming agonisingly close to grinding out a heroic draw.
The third Test will begin in Port Elizabeth on 16 January 2020.
Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.