Kagiso Rabada celebrates with teammates after taking a wicket during day four of the first Test of the series between SA and England at SuperSport Park on December 29 2019. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SYDNEY SESHIBEDI
Kagiso Rabada celebrates with teammates after taking a wicket during day four of the first Test of the series between SA and England at SuperSport Park on December 29 2019. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SYDNEY SESHIBEDI

The Proteas needed only two sessions of the fourth day of action to restrict their arch-rivals to 268 in 93 overs and record the morale-boosting victory before tea, setting the tone for the rest of the series.

England started the day on 121/1 but trailing by 255 runs and their mission proved to be too much as Kagiso Rabada‚ Anrich Nortjé‚ Dwaine Pretorius and Keshav Maharaj wreaked havoc with their batting order.

Rabada ended the second innings with four wickets‚ Nortje with three‚ Maharaj with two and Pretorius with one. Vernon Philander finished empty-handed but his control was faultless.

Philander was the star of the first innings where SA crucially restricted England to 181. He claimed four wickets, to be followed by Rabada with three‚ Nortje with two and Pretorius with one‚ while Maharaj was empty-handed.

Nortje and Pretorius started the demolition job in the morning session when they removed opener Rory Burns (84)‚ who was looking solid at the crease‚ and Joe Denley (31).

After the lunch break‚ SA took firm control of the proceedings with the important wickets of Ben Stokes (14)‚ Jonny Bairstow (9)‚ captain Joe Root (48) and Sam Curran (9).

The first casualty after the lunch was all-rounder Stokes, who departed with only 14 runs to his name when he was bamboozled by the spin wizardry of Maharaj.

Rabada joined the party with the new ball to claim his first wicket of the day when Zubayr Hamza reacted quickly to catch Bairstow at gully as the SA bowlers began to tighten their grip on proceedings.

The biggest breakthrough of the session was achieved as Nortje removed the mightily dangerous Root‚ whose dismissal meant that for the first time he failed to score a half-century against the Proteas in a Test match. 

Rabada registered his second wicket when he dismissed Curran, with Quinton de Kock claiming the catch behind the stumps‚ and Nortje dealt with Jofra Archer, who scored only nine runs.

Shortly before tea‚ Rabada accounted for Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad as SA completed a memorable victory.

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