South Africa level Test series with Australia as Kagiso Rabada takes six

Andrew Couldridge Reuters                       Kagiso Rabada

The fitness of experienced fast bowler Dale Steyn will be of even more interest to South Africa in the coming days after their most potent wicket-taker Kagiso Rabada was ruled out of the remainder of the four-test series with Australia.

Rabada's hearing over a level-two charge for making physical contact with Australia skipper Smith unfolded behind closed doors after play on day three of the second Test.

An accumulation of eight points triggers a two-match ban.

But the fiery Rabada's conduct throughout the second Test has earned him a ban for the final two matches.

The third Test between the Proteas and Australia starts in Cape Town on 22 March. "To be honest‚ I just let it out". I just got you out'. As the match referee mentioned, there are bigger things at play here, that's why he didn't ban Davey Warner and make it a level three offense because it's a series between two big teams.

Meanwhile, Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, was also fined 20 per cent of his match fee and handed one demerit point for a Level 1 offence under 2.1.4 of ICC's Code of Conduct, which implies 'using language or gesture that is obscene, offensive, or insulting during an International Match'.

"I found that there was contact between Rabada and Smith, and in my judgement the contact by Rabada was inappropriate, and deliberate".

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It's not the first time Rabada has been forced to the sidelines, he was banned for the second test against England in July a year ago after swearing at Ben Stokes, with the punishment pushing him to four demerit points.

Tempers flared again in the first over on day four, when Mitch Marsh played on to Rabada then appeared to swear at the fired-up fast bowler.

A magnificent century by AB de Villiers enabled South Africa to take a first innings lead of 139 and Australia lost four wickets before they wiped out the deficit.

The 33-year-old has 297 test wickets and will be eager to add three more before he calls it a day, though his match figures of 3-121 in the first test suggest he lacked rhythm, especially in the first innings.

He also dismissed Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc on the way to his six-wicket haul as Australia were bowled out for 239 before lunch.

Lyon was caught behind off Lungi Ngidi and last man Josh Hazlewood hit a quick 17 before being caught in the deep off left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.

Rabada's 6-54 followed his 5-96 in the first innings and it was his fourth 10-wicket haul in tests.

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