Kagiso Rabada picked 3 wickets © Getty Images
Kagiso Rabada picked 3 wickets © Getty Images

South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada struck three times within six balls as Australia  faltered after a good start on the first day of the second Test against South Africa at St George’s Park on Friday. Australia were 170 for six at tea. Rabada dismissed Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Marsh quickly just before the tea interval to tilt the balance in South Africa’s favour

It was a dramatic change of fortune after Australian opening batsmen David Warner and Cameron Bancroft weathered tricky early conditions and put on 98 for the first wicket. Bancroft was out for 38 on the stroke of lunch and was quickly followed by Usman Khawaja (4) and Warner, bowled by Lungi Ngidi for 63.

Vernon Philander took the first two wickets and had figures of two for 13 in 14 overs at tea. Australian captain Smith and Shaun Marsh seemed to have steadied the innings in a partnership of 44 before Rabada produced a fast delivery angled in to the stumps to strike Smith on the back pad. Smith failed in a review of umpire Kumar Dharmasena’s decision.

In Rabada’s next over Marsh was beaten by a ball which swung into his pads and was also leg before. Mitchell Marsh edged a four but then was caught behind off an inside edge.

Warner, who was fined 75 percent of his match fee after an altercation with South Africa’s Quinton de Kock during the first Test in Durban, started slowly but had made 63 off 100 balls with nine fours before Ngidi beat his defences with an angled delivery which hit the top of off stump.

Despite suggestions on social media that Warner could be the target of abuse or derogatory signs from spectators, there was no obvious hostility from a small crowd.