South African pacer Kagiso Rabada has been charged with a Level 2 offence for bumping into Australian skipper Steve Smith after dismissing him on the Day 1 of the second Test match in Port Elizabeth. Rabada could face a two-Test ban as he already has 5 demerit points to his name.
Australia started the second Test very well as the openers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft put on 98 runs in the first session. However, some excellent bowling from Vernon Philander helped South Africa claw their way back as they took 3 quick wickets on either side of the lunch interval.
But despite those three wickets, Australia looked in total control of the proceedings in the middle. Steve Smith was batting well along with Shaun Marsh and at 161/3, things looked pretty good for the Aussies. But they then ran into a rampaging Kagiso Rabada who took 5 wickets in the span of 18 deliveries and put the Proteas in total control.
The 22-year old fast bowler, who bowled without any venom in the first session (he had figures of 0/47 in 10 overs), suddenly sprung to life and ran through the Aussie batting line-up. He was fired up and looked in fabulous rhythm. However, his aggression and fiery nature cost him dearly. After he took the wicket of Steve Smith, Rabada celebrated in his face and also brushed the shoulder of the Aussie skipper.
Hence, he has been hit with a level two charge by match referee Jeff Crowe. Article 42.3.1 of the players’ code of conduct cites "making inappropriate and deliberate contact with another player" as a level two offence, which carries a sanction of a fine and either three or four demerit points. Rabada currently has five demerit points against his name and if he is found guilty, he would be banned for two Test matches.
However, Rabada has indicated that he will contest the charge on the basis that the contact was accidental. He will face a hearing after either the second or third day's play at St George's Park. It is learnt that privately Rabada has insisted that he was running towards AB de Villiers in the slips - because de Villiers had predicted that Rabada would take Smith's wicket - at the time of the incident.
The Johannesburg fast bowler has had a few run-ins in his short international career. He was first reprimanded and was handed 3 demerit points after his run-in with Niroshan Dickwella. He was then banned from one Test match in England after he was caught using foul language against Ben Stokes which handed him another demerit point (which made it total four demerit points).