THE batsman tipped as a big name of the future announced himself with a triple-hundred in a partnership of 480 at Centurion today, a South African record for any wicket. Rilee Rossouw means little to most people, but that seems likely to change.
The former Test batsman Boeta Dippenaar said he would “bet his mortgage” on Rossouw enjoying a long and successful career at the top, and Sussex’s bowlers would probably agree after encountering the left-hander in the Champions League at New Delhi last October.
Rossouw, 20, from Bloemfontein, had already proved himself at franchise level for Diamond Eagles before featuring in today’s huge second-wicket stand with Dean Elgar against Titans at well over five runs an over. He became the first man to hit a triple hundred in a day in South Africa and, at 276 balls, he reached it quicker than any previous South African before gloving an easy catch for 319. Elgar — a left-hander with experience at Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire — finished the first day of this Supersport Series game with a more ‘normal’ 156 not out and the score at 502 for three.
Surprisingly Rossouw was not especially successful during his time for South Africa Under-19, but he has now hit seven centuries in first class cricket and has signed a provisional IPL contract for Bangalore Royal Challengers, the franchise that acquired Kevin Pietersen.
Rossouw, a fresh-faced heart-throb in Free State, made his first impact in Twenty20 cricket when he took 65 in 62 balls off Sussex. Though that was hardly sensational, it was enough to earn him the man of the match award and without that innings Sussex would probably have won instead of tieing and losing on super-over.
In the 2008/09 season the run-hungry apprentice finished as Diamond Eagles’ top batsman. He hit 765 runs in 10 matches at an average of 40.26 and scored his maiden century a couple of weeks after his 19th birthday. The murder of the Titans attack this week seems to have given the world due warning.
CHARLIE SAYS: Rossouw finished on the losing side, the first time I can remember this happening to a triple centurion since 1996 when Lancashire lost to Derbyshire after Jason Gallian had hit 312, still the highest individual score at Old Trafford. Scores at Centurion: Eagles 570-9 dec & 164 (Rossouw 64 off 85 balls), Titans 546-9 dec & 190-8.