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'It's the best thing for Test cricket': Rogers

Former Australia batsman hopes Proteas quick learns lesson from Smith incident as cricket world reacts to shock decision

Former Australia opener Chris Rogers believes Kagiso Rabada's successful appeal of his two-Test ban is the best outcome for what could go down as an all-time great series, but cautioned the paceman needs to learn a lesson from the saga.

The International Cricket Council's specially-appointed judicial commissioner dropped a bombshell on Tuesday by overturning Rabada's penalty for making physical contact with Australia captain Steve Smith in the second Test.

Rabada had been handed three demerit points which resulted in a two-Test suspension due to his poor disciplinary record, but Mike Heron QC deemed the contact to be "non-deliberate", instead slapping him with a lower-level offense.

Most importantly, it means the prodigious right-armer is free to play in the final two Tests against Australia, though he is now only one minor indiscretion away from a two-Test or four limited-overs match ban.

Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan declared immediately on Twitter that common sense had prevailed, a verdict former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith gave a virtual thumbs up to.

But Rogers, who took on the Proteas' famed pace attack in Australia's most recent Test series in South Africa in 2014, is warier.

"It's the best thing for Test cricket. This could be one of the great series, you want to have everyone available," the 25-Test batsman told cricket.com.au

"If Australia win the series and Rabada has played all the Tests then they can say they're thoroughly deserving. It'd be a little bit bittersweet if they won it without Rabada playing. 

"The only problem is at some stage he needs to understand the ramifications of his actions and to learn lessons. That's what we all go through. Hopefully he has (learnt a lesson), hopefully it's been an alarm for him. 



"Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. At some stage he needs to learn the lesson – how's he going to get it if he keeps getting away with it? 

"That's the big question. Hopefully he'll understand and there will be good senior players and coaches who can help him. 

"He'll know that he can't continue to act like that on the field. You want your skill to be noticed, not the way you carry on."

Ex-England coach David Lloyd labelled the series of hearings and appeals a "total waste of time and money" while respected broadcaster Mike Haysman suggested the final verdict was the correct one.

Rabada originally contested the Level 2 charge handed down by match referee Jeff Crowe but was unsuccessful, forcing him and Cricket South Africa to lodge an appeal with the ICC.

The ensuing six-hour hearing ended in Cape Town around 3:15pm local time on Monday before Heron delivered his verdict the following day ahead of Thursday's crucial third Test with the series locked at one-all.

Rogers said that while you don't want to stop players from expressing themselves on the field, he doesn't like seeing things get as heated as they have been.

King Kagiso finishes with 11 in SA's second Test win

"I'm not a huge fan of seeing all the send offs and the nasty stuff that's going on behind the scenes," Rogers continued. "Cricket's a sport and it's there to be enjoyed – you play it hard but you can still play it hard with respect.

"He's still young, so you can't be too critical. That's why we love sport, we love seeing that emotion. It's just that fine balance. 

"Hopefully all the players, not only him, can play in the right spirit for the rest of the series."

CSA stressed its hope that attention would now shift back to a competitive series.

"It is now important that everybody gets the focus back where it belongs on the game of cricket," the Proteas board send in a statement. 

"We have witnessed a compelling series between two highly competitive and skilful teams that is locked 1-1 at the halfway stage and is attracting a global audience."

Qantas tour of South Africa

South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Quinton de Kock, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, AB de Villiers.

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.

Warm-up match: Australia beat South Africa A by five wickets. Report, highlights

First Test Australia won by 118 runs. Scorecard

Second Test South Africa won by six wickets. Scorecard

Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26. Live coverage

Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage