- The newest darling of South African cricket, 21-year-old Lungi Ngidi, has become just the sixth Protea since Lance Klusener
in 1994 to take a fifer on Test debut.
Playing in front of his home
crowd in South Africa’s 135-run win over India in the second Test at Centurion,
Ngidi was phenomenal.
He finished with match figures of
7/90, but it was his 6/39 in the
second innings that really announced his arrival onto the Test stage and made
him the star performer of the contest.
India's batsmen had no answer to
his pace an accuracy, and if Ngidi can bowl like this on a wicket that has done
little to assist the seamers in a traditional sense, then there is no telling
what he will be like on what is expected to be a green Wanderers wicket next
Ngidi's celebration when he had
Mohammed Shami caught by Morne Morkel told its own story.
He pumped the air, bashed away at
the Proteas emblem on his shirt and was simply beaming. He had five wickets on
Test debut and had capped off a year-long period that had seen him go from
career-threatening injury to man-of-the-match against India.
But, that euphoria aside, it was
a Ngidi's second wicket of the innings that gave him the most
Virat Kohli's 153 in the first
innings had kept his side very much in the game, and as long as he was at the
wicket India would have backed themselves to chase down anything.
Instead, Ngidi knocked the Indian
skipper over when he had him trapped leg-before for 5 on day four. It was a
moment that gave South Africa the boost they needed to take control of this
"The moment for me I think
was the captain’s wicket," Ngidi said when asked which wicket was his
"That was a very special
moment and I felt that I had worked hard and sort of figured out a gameplan of
bowling towards him, so finally getting that really did mean a lot to me."
All through the Test, Ngidi was
on cloud nine.
He may have played less than 10
first-class matches, but he is already becoming a Centurion hero and that much
was made evident by the applause he got between overs every time he took his
position at fine leg.
"To be honest, it’s actually
difficult to describe," he said.
"It’s not something I’m used
to, so every time it really does hit me.
"You get goosebumps and get
nervous all over again. It really is an honour to have people appreciate the
work that you’re doing out there, so it’s hard to describe but it really is a
The win means that the Proteas
have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series as the third Test heads to
Johannesburg on January 24.