Lungi Ngidi – in his debut Test against world number-one Test cricket side India – delivered a remarkable man-of-the-match performance with figures of 6/39, helping the Proteas to a 2-0 series victory with a match still to play.
The Proteas easily brushed India aside on the fifth morning of the Test in SuperSport Park in Centurion, with any chance of resistance blown away by Ngidi's impressive maiden sixfer on debut.
India were beaten by 135 runs with almost two sessions to spare.
For me what separates the really good players, from great players...execute under pressure— Lungi Ngidi (@NgidiLungi) December 29, 2017
Kagiso Rabada also gave the Proteas a boost with figures of 3/47, garnering South Africa's devastating bowling attack even more attention. The Proteas bowlers made it rain wickets, with Morné Morkel, Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj also taking scalps in India's first innings.
Ngidi and Rabada were the Proteas' heroes in India's second innings, however. The only Indian wicket not taken by one of these two bright new stars on days four and five was that of Cheteshwar Pujara, who was run out by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock after a superb throw-in from AB de Villiers – off Ngidi's bowling.
😯 If Dale Steyn doesn't get you, Kagiso Rabada will.— bet365 (@bet365) January 16, 2018
😮 If Kagiso Rabada doesn't get you, Morné Morkel will.
😲 If Morné Morkel doesn't get you, Vernon Philander will.
😲 If Vernon Philander doesn't get you, Lungi Ngidi will.
😍 South Africa's bowling attack.#SAvINDpic.twitter.com/gO4VRDNsGB
But the unarguable star of the match was 21-year-old Lungisani True-man Ngidi, awarded man of the match in his first Test for his country. From the start of the second Test on January 13, the right-arm fast bowler wasted no time establishing himself as SA's hottest young bowling prospect after Rabada.
Born in Durban in 1996, Ngidi achieved his first success in schoolboy cricket for Hilton College in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. He played provincial cricket in every age group from U-13 upwards, and after matriculating, he played his university cricket for Tuks in Pretoria. He has appeared for KZN-Inland U-19s and South Africa U-19s, as well as in first-class cricket for Northerns and Titans.
He bowls at 140km/h and above, and seems to be equally comfortable opening the bowling or mopping up the tail. Prior to his Test debut against India, Ngidi made his international T20 debut for South Africa against Sri Lanka on January 20, 2017 – which also resulted in a man of the match award at his first appearance.
He hasn't looked back since, and following his remarkable figures against India, South Africans on social media are already convinced that he is the real deal.
One, the best bowler in the world.— La Cesare Nera (@Emperor_Jay10) January 17, 2018
The other, a six wicket haul on debut.
Proof: All we ever needed, all we ever asked for, was an opportunity. We belong ✊#Ngidi#Rabada#SAvINDpic.twitter.com/lhN10bwTjC
6/39 for #Ngidi: the 10th best figures on Test debut in the last 25 years. If SA keep his back wrapped in cotton-wool, Ngidi is going to join Rabada to form one of the great fast-bowling pairs. Lillee & Thommo, Wasim & Waqar, Rabada & Ngidi.— Tom Eaton (@TomEatonSA) January 17, 2018
Rabada - 22 years old, already number one ranked test bowler.— Umfana kaMabaso (@Sifiso_TN) January 17, 2018
Ngidi - 21 years old, 6-39 on test debut.
Both fast and very skilled young men with ball in hand!
The South African test cricket future is in safe hands.#SAvIND#Ngidi
Every day a star is born. #LungiNgidi— Nkosinathi Shazi (@NkosinathiShazi) January 17, 2018
Say what you like, we literally piss out quality fast bowlers in this country. #ngidi— Quinton not de Kock (@notdekock) January 17, 2018
See what happens when you give someone a chance? #Ngidi— Siv Ngesi (@iamSivN) January 17, 2018
Well done to the Proteas and to Lungi #Ngidi especially!! What a debut. Hard luck India and Daryll Cullinan.— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) January 17, 2018