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Rabada on the rise

Only three times have Bangladesh been beaten by a larger margin in Tests than their Bloemfontein defeat ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Bangladesh have taken huge strides as a Test team at home, but over these two Tests in South Africa, they showed they have a long way to go in overseas conditions. Their defeat in the second Test by an innings and 254 runs is their fourth-biggest innings defeat in Tests. The last time they lost by a bigger margin was way back in 2005, against England at Lord's. For South Africa, this was their biggest Test win ever, surpassing their innings-and-229-run win against Sri Lanka in Cape Town in 2001.

South Africa were barely tested with bat or ball in this match. They had four centurions, and scored 573 for the loss of just four wickets. They took 20 wickets conceding just 319 runs, an average of just 15.95 runs per wicket. The difference between Bangladesh's bowling average (143.25) and batting average (15.95) is the sixth-largest in their Test history; the largest is also against South Africa, in Chittagong in 2003, when South Africa scored 470 for 2, and Bangladesh managed only 173 and 237. The last time the difference in the averages was larger than this was in May 2007, against India in Mirpur: a telling indicator of how poor Bangladesh were in this Test.


Only three times have Bangladesh lasted fewer deliveries when losing 20 wickets in a Test, and all those instances have come before 2006. More tellingly, each of them has occurred outside home, another rude reminder of how much they are lagging behind away from home.


Rabada's special

Since his international debut in 2015, it was apparent to all that Kagiso Rabada was a special talent, and in the couple of years he has been around, he has largely fulfilled expectations. The Bloemfontein Test was a special one for him: he became the fifth-youngest in Test history to reach 100 Test wickets, and the joint third-fastest in terms of matches for South Africa, after Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn.

He also capped off the Test with a ten-for, finishing with outstanding figures of 10 for 63. Rabada was coming off slightly underwhelming performances in his last two series, in New Zealand and England (24 wickets at 31.92), but a weak Bangladesh batting line-up was no match for his pace and movement.

After 22 Tests, Rabada has taken 102 wickets at an average of 22.71 and a strike rate of 39.8. As the table below shows, that compares well with some of the other top South African bowlers. Since the start of 2007, South Africa's bowlers have taken 10 ten-wicket hauls in Tests, which have been shared among Steyn (five) Philander (two) and Rabada (three). In fact, the last three ten-fors by South African bowlers all belong to Rabada.


Also, only once has a South African bowler taken a ten-wicket haul conceding fewer runs than Rabada's 63; Steyn took 11 for 60 against Pakistan in Johannesburg in 2013.