Cape Town – Whether he ends as a match-winner at SuperSport Park remains to be seen, but the English media has not been slow to hail the mid-Test feats of rookie Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada.
The 20-year-old earned his second “five-for” in the space of just eight days against the tourists on day three of the final encounter on Sunday, and new personal best Test figures of seven for 112 as South Africa took a grip on the dead-rubber affair.
Ali Martin of The Guardian (www.guardian.com) said in tribute: “Kagiso Rabada began the series against England waiting in the wings (he was omitted at Kingsmead – Sport24) but he will now end it as the most significant player to emerge for defeated South Africa.
“(He is) lithe in action, probing in line and seemingly mature beyond his years.”
Meanwhile in the Daily Telegraph, Nick Hoult touched on Rabada’s importance to the transformation drive in South African cricket: “That Rabada is a black African adds another dimension to his performances as Cricket South Africa fights with football for attention in the townships.
“But of more significance to his team-mates is the fact that he has shown in this series there is a future after (Dale) Steyn.”
Scyld Berry of the same newspaper added, in tribute to the youngster’s intelligence: “Rabada has pitched the fullest length of any pace bowler (at Centurion) and the straightest line against right-handers, and has therefore been the most successful.
“His most important wicket was that of Joe Root ... a top outswinger.”
Jamie Lillywhite of the BBC (www.bbc.com) said Rabada’s “heroics” would make the hosts confident of a consolation win.
“(He) used the overcast conditions to devastating effect, bowling a consistently dangerous line around the off-stump and extracting sufficient pace and movement to find the edges.”
UK based The Cricketer magazine (www.thecricketer.com) said through writer Alec Swann: “The 20-year-old ... showed that he really will be a force to be reckoned with from now on.”
Swann praised his “decent pace and line of attack”.
*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing