Kagiso Rabada claimed his fifth five-wicket haul in just his 13th Test and the best match figures for South Africa against Sri Lanka as the Proteas wrapped up the second Test by 282 runs at Newlands in Cape Town on Thursday.
In a display of superb fast bowling, Rabada claimed four for 33 in his seven overs on the fourth morning, ensuring that Sri Lanka, who had begun the day on 130 for four, lost their last six wickets before lunch to be bowled out for 224.
Rabada finished with six for 55 in 17 overs in the innings and 10 for 92 in the Test, improving on Vernon Philander’s 10 for 102 against Sri Lanka at Centurion in 2011/12.
The athletic 21-year-old looked at the peak of his powers in the second innings and it was something of a surprise that he did not continue bowling on Thursday morning, leaving Philander to finish the job.
Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal had added 61 for the fifth wicket on the third evening, but they could only last 23 more minutes on Thursday, adding 14 more runs before Chandimal (30) could not keep a flick off his pads down, Rabada getting some extra bounce as usual, and Stephen Cook taking a simple catch at square-leg,
Upul Tharanga hit a quickfire trio of boundaries in his 12 before an awkward cut was edged behind off Rabada and the fast bowler quickly completed his five-for as Mathews was caught behind for 49 playing a loose back-foot drive to an off-side delivery that again featured extra bounce.
Rabada’s dismantling of the innings would be complete in his sixth over of the day as a fantastic, fast lifter to Suranga Lakmal (10) was gloved through to wicketkeeper De Kock.
Poor old Sri Lanka had lost four wickets for 34 runs and, tottering on 178 for eight, they only made it past 200 thanks to plucky Rangana Herath scoring 35 not out.
Rabada rested from his stellar exploits, but there was little respite for the Sri Lankans as left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj had Lahiru Kumara stumped for nine, De Kock showing some great glovework, and Philander bowled Nuwan Pradeep for five to finish with three for 48 in 14 overs.
But the star of the show was undoubtedly Rabada and if there are any doubts that he is back to his best after the Australian series, they were blown away by his unrelenting ferocity on Thursday.
If there was one sadness for the Proteas it was Kyle Abbott finishing wicketless, despite actually bowling very well, in what is his final Test, having confirmed his Kolpak signing.