Temba Bavuma has done a brilliant job © Getty Images
Temba Bavuma has done a brilliant job © Getty Images

Being a livewire on the field in a format like Test cricket, is not everyone’s cup of tea. Shorter formats often witness some stunning fielding efforts as the duration of the match is petite and intensity is on a different level. But Test cricket is not the same; this is a difficult format, which stipulates horse-like stamina and concentration as good as a hawk. A fielder may be stranded for several overs or even an hour without any action and out of nowhere a catch or a half-chance for a run-out will occur. And the expectations are on another level.   FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test at WACA, Perth

Over the years, South Africa have been a side, which inspires immense confidence on the field. They have produced some absolute geniuses on the field and the likes of Jonty Rhodes, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy render fielding a joy to behold. Temba Bavuma is the latest edition to the elite club of these outstanding fielders in the side. Bavuma did something astonishing in the ongoing first Test between Australia and South Africa at Perth to pull curtains on an on-song David Warner’s innings. This was indubitably the best run out of the summer, in fact, one of the bests ever observed in Test cricket. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 4 at Perth

Bavuma inscribed his name with gold in the history of Test cricket in just 0.264 seconds. Yes, you heard it right, and it just took a fraction of a second for Bavuma to steam in from point and draw the first blood by hitting the timber at the non-striker’s end to set Warner walking back to the pavilion. The question is what can a person possibly do in a second? Well, there is hardly anything, which is virtually possible in this universe to be done in a second. But Bavuma pulled off an absolute ripper in precisely 0.264 seconds.

South Africa returned from the dead and set a massive target of 539 for the hosts in the fourth innings for the hosts to chase. The target was no less than a mountain to be climbed for the hosts but Warner was in a different zone altogether. He had smashed 97 in the first innings and got the ball rolling from the outset in the second innings. Kagiso Rabada bowled a maiden over to shaun Marsh and started the proceedings but Warner did not waste any time out in the middle and played two elegant strokes in his very first over to give a testament to the kind of form he was in. ALSO READ: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 4: Temba Bavuma’s run out, Kagiso Rabada’s bowling and other highlights

It needed some kind of brilliance to get rid of Warner and Bavuma certainly produced it. Warner was scoring runs at a brisk pace and reluctant on curbing his natural instincts. Warner is not only a hard hitter of the cricket ball but his running between the wickets is awe-inspiring as he is undoubtedly one of the best runners in contemporary cricket. While batting on 35, Warner went on the back foot and punched one towards point for a quick single. As Warner was already on the back foot, he had an extra yard to cover along with accelerating the speed. Bavuma was lightening quick to get to the ball and the most important part was his release. Bavuma got himself in such a position where he picked the ball and got rid of it in no time.

Bavuma was in the air and no part of his body was on the ground when he shirred at the stumps. In fact, the kind of power he engendered while being airborne was astronomical. Not just power, his aim was as clean as a whistle as he struck the middle and off-stump at the non-striker’s end. Warner was convinced enough to make his ground and none would have expected Bavuma to hit the target from such an awkward position. Eventually, Warner’s willow was found on the crease and was ruled out by the third umpire. Warner was stunned by this effort and one could easily say that Warner will watch this run-out several times to figure out what went wrong.

The entire episode was heroic; Bavuma defied gravity and laws of physics as it was almost unfeasible to pull this off. One would not be wrong to say that Warner would have been safely home had it been any other fielder than Bavuma. An effort like this is witnessed once in a blue moon and Bavuma did well to create one. He earned accolades from many cricketing greats and social media went berserk after his gallant work. This would easily make it to the folklore and has cemented a permanent spot in many cricket fans’ minds.

Bavuma drew the first blood as Australia lost their first wicket in the form of Warner and South Africa got their first breakthrough. How many times we have seen a wicket falling right after a dismissal in Test cricket? Well, the answer is many and something similar happened in this over as well. The partnership was broken after which Shaun Marsh edged one into the hands of Faf du Plessis at second slip. Bavuma played a massive role and showed the kind of damage a fielder can inflict. One should not forget, South Africa were without the services of Dale Steyn as he suffered a shoulder injury in the first innings and has been ruled out of series.

This meant South Africa were a bowler short and needed their fielders to step up. Bavuma responded to the call and has done what was needed. South Africa were in a commendable position at stumps on Day 4 as Australia were precariously placed 169 for the loss of four wickets. South Africa need just six wickets on the final day while the hosts need 370 runs to win, which is unlikely as they would need to bat out the whole day to save the day.

(Suraj Choudhari is a reporter with CricketCountry. He is an avid follower of the game, and plays the sport at club level. He has a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, and tries to express it through paper and pen.)