South Africa stand-in skipper Dean Elgar has said Kagiso Rabada’s ban from the second match of the England series is a “big loss for Test cricket” and not just the Proteas.
The tourists suffered a thumping 211-run loss, with more than a day to spare, in the first Test at Lord’s on Sunday when they collapsed to 119 all out after being set 331 to win.
South Africa now have just a few days to recover before the second Test at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge starts on Friday.
But their hopes of levelling the four-match series at 1-1 have been made considerably more difficult by the absence of fast bowler Rabada.
The 22-year-old received a one-match ban for his latest offence under the International Cricket Council’s code of conduct as a result of swearing at Ben Stokes following his dismissal of the England all-rounder in the first innings at Lord’s.
“It’s a big loss for everything, the Proteas and Test cricket,” Elgar told reporters.
Rabada has taken 77 wickets in 18 career Tests at an impressive average of under 25 apiece and Elgar said: “He is a vitally important bowler.
“He’s been a phenomenal strength to our bowling attack for the last three years in all formats… I think for the game of cricket it is a loss.”
Rabada was in the wickets as South Africa took seven in Sunday’s morning session to reduce England to 182 for eight in their second innings at lunch on the fourth day.
– ‘Capitulated’ –
“Going into lunch with eight down, I really thought we’d given ourselves the best opportunity,” said opening batsman Elgar.
“I think that’s why it’s (so) disappointing to be sitting here after things capitulated as they did.”
South Africa, however, did not help their own cause by twice dropping Joe Root in the course of a first-innings 190 that also saw him stumped off a no-ball.
And on Sunday, they also saw Vernon Philander drop a routine catch at long-off when Jonny Bairstow had made just seven.
Bairstow went on to make 51 and share a ninth-wicket stand of 45 with Mark Wood that all but put the match beyond South Africa’s reach.
“I do think in Test cricket, particularly, you have to make your own luck,” said Elgar.
“We haven’t been kind to ourselves the last four days, small things, but they impacted the Test in quite a big way – dropped catches, non-negotiable no-balls, they would definitely have made life easier as a captain.
“(But) we need to take it on the chin and crack on.
“These are the punches you have to take — you have to get up tomorrow morning with a smile on your face and know there is a Test in four days, and you have to start again.”
Meanwhile South Africa coach Russell Domingo has returned home for the second time this tour, after a team spokeswoman confirmed his mother was now on life support following the injuries she suffered in a car crash that took place during the Twenty20 series against England late last month.