We need to find a way to counter Hardik Pandya, admits Kagiso Rabada

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We need to find a way to counter Hardik Pandya, admits Kagiso Rabada

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SportsCafe Desk

01/07/2018

Kagiso Rabada has shown concern over Hardik Pandya’s current form after the latter played a 93-run knock, stating that SA need to find a way to "counter the Indian". Rabada has also admitted that his side is slightly ahead in the Cape Town Test after the hosts extended their lead to 142 runs.

For South Africa, it was AB de Villiers who gave the hosts some stability after the Indian bowling attack had restricted the hosts to 13/3 on Day 1. De Villiers built a 114-run partnership with his skipper Faf du Plessis on the first day to guide his team out of troubled waters. India faced an even worse situation in their first innings on Day 2 when Indian middle order failed to give stand up to the South African challenge but it was Pandya who stood tall. Despite the pressure, the Indian contributed a much-needed 93 runs before missing out on his maiden century in South Africa thanks to Rabada short ball.

"Looking at a player like him, he likes to play his natural game by playing shots. Sometimes that can put you on the backfoot or sometimes that can pay off for the bowling side. So it's a bit of a gamble, but if he chooses to play that way and it works for him then great. We need to find a way to counter him," the fast bowler said as quoted by PTI.

"It's a wicket where you really have to graft. You can't just come in and play shots everywhere. It's almost like there's a ball that will have your name on it. I think you need a little bit of luck. As you have seen Hardik Pandya got dropped, but he did play well. So I think it's a wicket where you need a little bit of luck. You need to really grind."

Despite Pandya’s heroic knock, Team India failed to equal South Africa’s first innings score as the visitors were dismissed for a mere 209 runs. Before stumps on the second day, however, the host managed to extend their lead to 142 runs with eight wickets in hand. Rabada pointed out the lead and claimed that his side is slightly ahead in the first encounter of the series.

"We are slightly ahead and we are not going to give in. We need more hard work but we will take it at the end of the day. After the sort of momentum India got in the second session, we would take that lead," he said.

"Obviously, we were hoping for a bigger lead but India are not going to roll over and we expected that. That is what they showed out there."

The South African openers Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram again failed to provide a good start to the team as they managed only 52 runs for the first wicket. Rabada talked about the SA plan and said the team's focus is now on building a good partnership.

"It is tough to say what fourth innings score we are looking for right now. We are looking at batting time, looking to bat normally and see what happens from there. We want to make it hard for them to score," he added.

The Proteas faced a huge setback when the management confirmed that Dale Steyn was unable to continue for the remainder of the series due to a left heel. Steyn, who had been struggling with injury for a major part of two years, had finally made a comeback to the Test side but could only manage 17.3 overs before a new injury ensured he left the field of play.

"It's never nice for Dale Steyn because he's just come back from injury, so just feeling very sympathetic for him. It's not a nice thing, but we have to find a way to win this Test match. Luckily this time, we went with four-seamers. So there's three seamers now that have to do the work," said Rabada.

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