Do you remember the first time South Africa played in England since re-admission to ICC after more than two decades of isolation due to apartheid? It was at Lord’s in 1994 and England were blown away for 180 and 99 as the Proteas won by 356 runs.  

This was an all pace attack and all white team as it was three years since apartheid. Rainbow nation has evolved over the last three decades and now they have a black captain in white ball cricket, their quickest bowlers are black and the lone spinner is of Indian origin.

In 1994, it was quite an eventful Test match. More than 100,000 fans witnessed the game as it had been quite a while since South Africa had played in England. The gate collection was over 2.25 million. Yes, for one Test match. Grey College boys Kepler Wessels and Hansie Cronje, the captain and deputy, in particular made merry against the English attack. This was also the Test match where England captain Mike Atherton was fined 2000 Pounds for ball tampering, the infamous dirt in the pocket incident.

There have been six series in England between these teams since South Africa’s isolation ended with both teams winning two each and two series being drawn giving us an indication how close the rivalry has been.

Since 2008,the series has been played for Basil D'Oliveira Trophy, the South African born  English cricketer, whose inclusion in the team for the 1968 tour resulted in the boycott of South Africa across many sports.

South Africa have gained upper hand in the current series with Kagiso Rabada inspiring his team with a  five wicket haul at Lord’s.

Rabada became the fourth South African bowler since readmission to have his name in the Lord’s Honours Board. The others are Allan  Donald, Makaya Ntini and  Vernon Philander. (Donald and Ntini have done it twice). It’s quite amazing as to how celebrated bowlers like Dale Steyn and Shaun Pollock missed out.

It’s said that some players are overawed by the occasion of Lord’s Test match and that doesn’t bring out their best. If you don’t believe, ask Sachin  Tendulkar, Brian Lara or Sunil Gavaskar, none of whom have scored a hundred at the  Home of Cricket.

Rabada’s efforts helped South  Africa bowl out England for 165 and by stumps on day two, South Africa had  sneaked away with a lead and could go onto build a big one in a bid to end Ben Stokes’ overwhelmingly successful stint as captain.

Rabada wasn’t the only bowler Dean Elgar could count on. If the South African captain needed extra pace, he had Anrich Nortje while Lungi Ngidi provided him control. If it was variation that the skipper was after then there was the ever improving Marco Jansen, with his left are fast bowling. With all ten wickets shared between the quicks, left arm spin of Keshav Maharaj wasn’t even required.

All in all, it’s a well rounded South African side possessing both flare and calm in the batting department.

England can not be written off though. This summer, they have been set four stiff targets at various parts of the country in entirely different conditions and they have proved that no target is beyond their reach. England’s best batting is turned on in the second innings it seems.