Rabada cleared for Aussie Tests after shoulder barge appeal

Cape Town (AFP) - South Africa's Kagiso Rabada was cleared to play the remaining two Tests against Australia after winning an appeal against his ban over an alleged shoulder barge on Tuesday.

The International Cricket Council said Rabada had been found not guilty of making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with Australian captain Steve Smith after taking his wicket during the second Test in Port Elizabeth last week.

Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon said his side had "no dramas" with the decision to lift Rabada's ban and they were delighted to be facing "the number one bowler in the world" in the third Test starting at Newlands on Thursday.

Judicial commissioner Michael Heron of New Zealand found Rabada guilty of the lesser charge of conduct contrary to the spirit of the game following an appeal hearing on Monday.

Heron reduced Rabada's penalty from three demerit points to one, and reduced his fine from 50 percent to 25 percent of his match fee.

Rabada's total of demerit points was therefore reduced from nine to seven, one short of the threshold for an automatic two-Test ban.

Although the ICC announcement leaves Rabada free to play in the series that is locked at one win apiece, his cumulative points tally means that any further disciplinary action could result in a ban.

Heron said the key issue was whether Rabada made deliberate contact with Smith.

"I am not 'comfortably satisfied' that Mr. Rabada intended to make contact," Heron said.

"I am entitled, however, to consider whether the conduct involved constitutes a lower-level offence.

"I consider the conduct was inappropriate, lacked respect for his fellow player and involved non-deliberate and minor contact. The actions contravened the principle that a dismissed batsman should be left alone."

Rabada's ban was among the low points of a bad-tempered series, in which Australia's David Warner and South African Quinton de Kock were fined over a confrontation during the first Test.

Lyon said Australia had largely expected the decision.

"We were preparing for him to play... As Australian cricketers we always want to play against the best players in the world and KG (Rabada) is the number one bowler in the world."

Lyon added: "It's going to be another great challenge for the batters and all of us. The ICC has made their decision and we respect them.

"That's their job, so we've got no dramas with them. Let's just move on and play some good cricket."

Cricket South Africa welcomed the outcome with acting chief executive Thabang Moroe thanking the legal team.

Moroe said: ?It is now important that everybody gets the focus back where it belongs on the game of cricket."