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Proteas have their sights set on No 1 Test spot

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South Africa retook the second spot on the ICC Test Team Rankings, but their goal is on reclaiming that No 1 spot, Kagiso Rabada has said.

The Proteas made easy work of their win over Pakistan. Photo: BackpagePix

South Africa retook second spot on the ICC Test Team Rankings, but their goal is on reclaiming that No 1 spot, Kagiso Rabada has said.

South Africa yesterday beat Pakistan by nine wickets, winning the series 2-0. As per the rankings predictor function, that should carry them to second on the rankings chart, while a 3-0 win could take them to within one point of India, who are at No 1.

Rabada, who took four wickets in Pakistan’s second innings to restrict them to 294 on Saturday, said winning overseas was important to the team, but first, they wanted to make their home grounds “a fortress”.

“Faf (du Plessis) mentioned before we started this series that yes we want to win every single game, but at home, we want to be unbeaten,” he said. “It’s something that we want to take forward.

“Ultimately, our goal is to be the No 1 team in the world.”

Playing at home means given their plethora of pace riches, the Test matches unfold on spicy tracks that make life difficult for the batsmen. Home batsmen like Dean Elgar too have admitted that “it’s hard work batting in South Africa”. Rabada agreed it was difficult, but not impossible.

“I think the pitches have done a bit, but when the batsmen have applied themselves, they’ve scored runs. Right from (series against) India, through to Australia and now against Pakistan. It shows that when you are prepared to fight in the middle, you will get runs,” he said.

“When the batsmen have applied themselves, they’ve scored runs”

In the Pakistan series, he pointed out, “Faf got a hundred, there were two 70s – Aiden (Markram) and Temba (Bavuma) – a 50 from Quinton (de Kock). It shouldn’t be too easy to score runs in Test cricket.”

Insisting it wasn’t easy for the bowlers too, he added, “We had to show a lot of resilience, but that’s Test cricket.”

On the third day of the second Test, Masood, Shafiq and Babar Azam brought up half-centuries, fighting to push the game to the fourth day.

“We toiled,” continued the young pacer.

“We needed to outlast them. Not breaking, and waiting for that breakthrough. Once it came, we were back in the game.”

African News Agency