Five-star Ngidi praises Proteas partners Nortje, Rabada: 'We hunt as a group'

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Anrich Nortje (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP)
Anrich Nortje (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP)
  • Lungi Ngidi has praised the work done by Proteas fast bowling partners Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada against the West Indies.
  • The Proteas skittled the Windies for 97 on day one of the first Test. 
  • Ngidi picked up his second five-wicket haul in Test cricket - the first since his 2018 debut.

The opening day of the first Test between the Proteas and the West Indies in St Lucia on Thursday belonged to South Africa and their fast bowlers.

Having won the toss before opting to bat first, the hosts were skittled for just 97 with South Africa's trio of Lungi Ngidi (5/19), Anrich Nortje (4/35) and Kagiso Rabada (1/24) doing the damage. 

It was a clinical display of raw pace and skill - attributes that the Proteas have always boasted when they are at their best - and South Africa are now in a commanding position and well set to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. 

This was Ngidi's second five-for in Test match cricket and his first since his 6/39 against India on debut at Centurion in 2018, and his celebrations showed exactly how much that meant to him. 

But, speaking to media after the day's play, Ngidi selflessly pointed to the work done by his bowling partners, specifically Nortje, who had sparked the West Indian collapse. 

"We've been bowling a lot together in the nets and in the middles and practice games," Ngidi said of Nortje.

"I've pretty much been hunting with him, wherever we've been. To see him come on after me and absolutely tear through their top order was something we were really hoping would happen.

"With the calibre of player he is, he executed and got us off to the perfect start."

Ngidi also pointed to the work done by Rabada. 

"Him (Nortje) and KG (Rabada) were doing a great job. KG really had them under pressure and his work can't go unnoticed," said Ngidi. 

"Hunting as a group is something that we've tried to instil within our bowling unit and I think we really can go a long way in terms of being a world-class outfit. That is the goal and this is the perfect start."

Of the three South African speedsters, Ngidi is the slowest presently, with Nortje rapidly quick while Rabada can also push it over 140 kph regularly. That, Ngidi says, has helped define his role within the attack.  

"My role definition in the team has been very clear. It's been to make sure that I keep one end quiet," he said.

"We have some really quick bowlers, and I think a lot of batsmen are struggling with them, so for me to give them nothing was part of the plan.

"It was just about zoning in on that off stump. It felt comfortable, and my rhythm clicked."

Play on Friday starts at 16:00 with the Proteas 128/4, 31 runs ahead. 

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