Port Elizabeth: South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has been banned from the series-deciding final cricket Test for a provocative celebration after dismissing England captain Joe Root.
Rabada was given one demerit point for screaming, hunching down and pumping his fists right next to Root after bowling him on the first day of the ongoing third Test in Port Elizabeth on Thursday. That demerit point took Rabada to four points over the last two years and led to a one-Test ban.
The International Cricket Council announced the punishment on Friday and said Rabada pleaded guilty to the offense and accepted the ban.
JUST IN: Kagiso Rabada hit with another demerit point for Code of Conduct breach that will see him miss the fourth #SAvENG Test at Centurion.
— ICC (@ICC) January 17, 2020
It rules the 24-year-old Rabada out of the fourth and final Test in Johannesburg, which starts next Friday. That Test will be series-deciding, with the contest tied at 1-1 heading into the third match in Port Elizabeth.
It's a major boost for England's hopes of winning the series and a major blow for South Africa's. Rabada is the No 4-ranked bowler in the world and South Africa's spearhead. He's the leading wicket-taker in the series.
England is in a strong position in the third Test after winning the toss and batting first.
Rabada was found guilty of “using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter," according to the ICC code of conduct.
Rabada is a serial offender having accumulated previous demerit points for over-zealous celebrations after taking wickets.
His last two offenses came during the contentious South Africa-Australia series in 2018, the contest that ended with the Australian ball-tampering scandal and long-term bans for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
In the second Test of that series at the same ground in Port Elizabeth, Rabada was banned for a provocative celebration in the face of Warner and for bumping into Smith after getting the then- captain out. South Africa appealed and his ban was overturned, to the fury of the Australians.
There was no appeal from South Africa after Rabada's latest offense and no need for a formal hearing after the young star admitted guilt.
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Down 0-1 after losing the opener, India again fought back strongly and grabbed an unassailable 2-1 lead in the ongoing four-Test rubber against England.
Trott didn't want to get into the blame game and said things could have been different if England would have batted well in the first innings.
While India went with three spinners, England opted for just one in Jack Leach for the day-night pink ball Test.