Thu, Mar 22, 12:26pm by Head Editor
In one of the most remarkable decisions in recent memory, South Africa quick Kagiso Rabada has successfully won his appeal against a two-match ban over an incident in the second Test in Port Elizabeth.
The ICC announced on Wednesday (AEDT) that the level two breach, in which the 22-year-old made inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with Steve Smith, after dismissing the Aussie skipper, had been overturned and the No.1 ranked Test bowler in the world would be free to play for the remainder of the series.
The shock-announcement, which has polarised the cricketing world, has also had a massive impact on the odds for both the third Test, which starts in Cape Town on Thursday, and the series.
Before the news broke that the Johannesburg-native was free to play, Australia held favouritism for the third Test, at $2.20, with the Proteas out at $2.40.
Those odds have now reversed, with the hosts coming into $2.20, and the Aussies sliding out to $2.35 now that they’ll have the face the man who’s already taken 15 Australian scalps this series.
It’s a similar story with the series betting, the hosts moved from $3 to $2.87 to win the series on the back of the successful appeal, while the tourists are out from $2.90 to $3.
Rabada is now the $7 second pick to be awarded the man of the match, behind the man he clashed with in the first innings of the hosts series levelling win, Steve Smith ($6).
The decision will no doubt disappoint both umpires and match referees who have been undermined by the ICC appeals process, while the man whose shoulder made contact with Rabada’s, says it sets a “dangerous precedent” and undermines the ICC’s current code of conduct for players.
Relations between these two nations have never been tenser, which makes for great entertainment, but also means that there is a chance things could boilover.
Australia has not lost a Test series in South Africa since the Proteas returned to world cricket nearly 30 years ago. It is a proud record that Steve Smith’s men are determined to uphold. This Test could be one of the all-time greats.
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