I didn't have rhythm - Rabada

Kagiso Rabada (Gallo Images)
Kagiso Rabada (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Kagiso Rabada may have taken three wickets (3/74) on his return to the Proteas Test side against England on Saturday, but he did not seem overly happy with his performance afterwards. 

That may have had something to do with the fact that England finished the first day of the second Test on a commanding 317/5. 

It was a tough day at the office for the Proteas ... and Rabada too was on the receiving end of some punishment at various stages of his 19-over allocation. 

Debutant Chris Morris carded 1/99 in 22 overs, while Morne Morkel finished with 1/51. 

Rabada has not played a competitive cricket match since the third Test on South Africa's tour to India. That match started on November 25 - over five weeks ago - and Rabada said not playing for a while had contributed to him struggling at times on Saturday.

"It was very tough. I didn’t feel a great rhythm. The margin for error is small on a wicket like this … you’re bowling to good players as well," he said.

"On top of that, I haven’t been 'match bowling 'fit, so it was a bit of s fight out there, but it went okay.

"I thought I was a bit erratic. I was struggling for rhythm ... I haven’t been bowling in matches since India."

Rabada also praised the work Morris had done early in the innings bowling to the England openers, and then said he was unsure why Morkel was not given the second new ball as the end of the day approached. 

"We always knew that we needed to pick up wickets quickly. When the second new ball came I thought that was our chance. We were hoping to get some wickets," said Rabada.

"I don’t know why Morras (Morkel) didn’t use the new ball. I don’t know Hash’s (Amla) thoughts at that time but I thought (Ben) Stokes was playing some shots. Bairstow was a bit calmer ... I guess Stokes was in. And with the new ball, it’s harder ... it travels faster, further.

"He (Stokes) took his chance. He drove one off Morris and it would have landed straight to gully. Gully wouldn’t have had to move. He did get a bit lucky, but he played shots and executed so tomorrow we’re going to have to be tight and hopefully knock them over quickly."

Rabada added that he was not aware of any niggle that had prevented Morkel from taking the second new ball. 

"He’s fine. I don’t know why he didn’t take the new ball, like I said. I don’t know what Hash was thinking, but he’s (Morkel) fine," said Rabada.

"He’s the guy with the most experience. He showed that today. So, we look to him. I know I look to him and ask him a few things and he helps, so that’s good on him."

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