Proteas explain Rabada new ball snub

Kagiso Rabada (Gallo)
Kagiso Rabada (Gallo)

Cape Town - One of the more puzzling South African decisions to emerge out of day one of the third Test against England in Port Elizabeth on Thursday was to give the new ball to Vernon Philander and debutant Dane Paterson. 

Paterson might be a natural new ball bowler at the Cape Cobras, but letting him have first crack at the St. George's Park wicket meant that the Proteas' premier striker bowler, Kagiso Rabada, had to be patient. 

SCOREBOARD: Proteas v England - 3rd Test

Rabada was eventually introduced in the ninth over of the contest, replacing the soon-to-be-retired Philander. 

It was a decision that ultimately backfired, with England cruising through the first session to be 61/0 at lunch. 

Conditions were tough for the bowlers all day, with the wicket offering very little in the way of assistance to the seamers. 

Keshav Maharaj (1/55 in 32) and Rabada (2/48 in 17) were the pick of the bowlers for the hosts as they eventually restricted England to 224/4 at stumps. 

Philander, meanwhile, bowled just 11 overs on the day with Proteas bowling coach Charl Langeveldt explaining afterwards that the PE wicket did not suit their new ball ace. 

"If you look at the surface it doesn't suit Vern that much. It's quite slow off the wicket and batsman can adjust," he said.

"We went with the extra seamer with Patto (Paterson), who is a bit quicker, and Vern is great with the new ball.

"But as we found out in these conditions previously, we decided that we would use him sparingly."

On the decision to go with Paterson over Rabada or the even quicker Anrich Nortje (1/52 in 15) up top, Langeveldt said the thinking was that the debutant would force the English openers into playing more shots. 

"A lot of questions get asked sometimes about why we don't make the batsmen play enough, and we thought about it and decided that on this surface we needed to make the new ball count," he said.

"KG is a wonderful bowler with the new ball and captain and management just thought that we would go with Paterson who does bowl a fuller length and makes the batsman play more.

"Paterson brings something different to the party."

Langeveldt added that the tactics were in now way too defensive. 

"You always look to strike. We looked to strike with the new ball and we just thought with a bit of moisture in it this morning, we needed to bowl a fuller length and that was the thought," he said.

"In the second innings KG would take the new ball."

When England resume their innings on Friday, they will have Ben Stokes (38*) and Oli Pope (39*) at the wicket. 

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England 204 & 15/0 (10 ov)
West Indies 318
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