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The Best of Dale Steyn

06 August 2019, by: Carl Lewis


South Africa’s leading wicket-taker Dale Steyn has retired from Test cricket to prolong his playing career.

The legendary 36-year-old quick was forced out of the World Cup because of a shoulder injury. In recent years he has been hampered by various injuries.

After making his Test debut in 2004, he went on to take 439 wickets and become eighth in the all-time Test bowling list. He took 26 five-wicket hauls and five 10-wicket hauls with a best of 7-51.

Take a trip down memory lane and relive some of his best performances for the Proteas in his illustrious career.

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This was Steyn’s first-ever Test match 5-for. The Black Caps were set a target of 249 to win and Steyn, with the help of the qualify of Makhaya Ntini, blew the Kiwis away in the second innings with both quicks picking up five wickets. Steyn finished with seven wickets in the match but his second innings exhibition was a hint to his future career in the game.

South Africa narrowly lost by 1 wicket but Steyn’s performance had significant because it was his first-ever 5 wicket haul on the subcontinent. Steyn would go on to break mould and become a veritable fast bowing weapon in conditions not traditionally suited to the pacemen. An incredible athlete, Steyn would bowl just as fast (perhaps even faster) with the older ball where he could produce breathtaking reverse swing bowling.

Another superb performance on the subcontinent, Steyn picked off the top three of Pakistan which included his ‘bunny’ Mohammed Hafeez and centurion Younis Khan. He also managed to claim the final two wickets which affirmed Dale Steyn’s status as a bowler for any conditions.

South Africa smashed the Kiwis by 356 runs but the margin was down to Steyn’s heroics in both innings. He managed to rip through the Black Caps batting unit to claim his first maiden 10 wicket match haul and a deserved man of the match award.

Not content with just one 10 wicket haul, Steyn followed it up in the very next Test with another roaring performance helping to bowl the Kiwis out cheaply in both innings. By terrorizing the Black Caps, Steyn set up an innings victory and claimed his second 10 wicket match haul and claim another man of the match performance.

The Proteas bowled India out for a meagre 76 thanks to some exceptional fast bowling exploits from Steyn and Ntini (3 wickets). The ‘Phalaborwa Express’ demonstrated his skills with the new ball and then the old ball picking up the final three wickets at the back end.

His day one effort set the tone for the match with South Africa cruising to an innings victory as well as a huge series win.

Possibly his best ever Test match, Steyn became an all-rounder in Melbourne in a Test that changed the Proteas’ mentality in Australia forever. He was once again the pick of the bowlers after the first innings with a 5-for. With South Africa in trouble ay 251/8 in their first innings reply, Steyn alongside JP Duminy put on one of the most important and memorable partnerships in South African cricket history.

Their 180 run stand, where Steyn got 76, gave the Proteas an unlikely and slender first-innings lead. Buoyed by his valiant effort with the bat, Steyn ripped through Australian batting line-up to bowl them out for 247 all out and then set up an extraordinary win for South Africa. Once again, his skills with the older ball was the difference.

Steyn’s first innings 5-wicket haul proved crucial in this fascinating Test series between two rivals nations. His reverse swing was too hot to handle for the English lower order and they now lead out cheaply 180. Steyn’s hostility and skill essentially set up South Africa’s win by an innings and 74 runs.

At this stage, Steyn was undoubtedly the premier fast bowler in world cricket and his dismantling of the Windies was just more evidence of that. In true Steyn fashion, he obliterated the Windies lower order and tail on what was by no means a fast bowling paradise.

South Africa eventually won by 163 runs despite a strong second innings effort from the home team. In the end, it was Steyn’s destructive 5/29 that kept South Africa in control throughout. He was the man of the match as well.

This will always be Hashim Amla’s Test after his heroic 311* but Steyn guaranteed a comfortable innings victory with his first 5-wicket haul in England.

Steyn bowled with a certain amount of venom with the older ball and never let the English lower-order settle. Another fine bowling performance on a different continent.

South Africa were bowled out cheaply for 253 after batting first in the Test. Then Steyn decided to put in one of his most glorious fast bowling clinics to destroy Pakistan in the first innings, they were rolled for an embarrassing 49 all out.

Not content with six wickets, Steyn, inevitably, produced another classy spell with the second new ball in the second innings to end with 11 for 60 in the Test. South Africa won by 211 runs while Steyn picked up another 10 wicket match haul and the man of the match.

While he did not get a 5-for, Steyn’s extraordinary and explosive late afternoon spell of reverse swing was the catalyst for Proteas 231-run victory in the dying moments of the fourth day to level the series.

With rain forecast on the final day, South Africa were under pressure to convert and Steyn duly obliged getting nine wickets in the evening session while Australia lost 10 wickets for just for 90 runs after an opening stand of 126. The spell of mesmerising fast bowling in PE deserves its place on the list.

The tour was the start of Hashim Amla’s short tenure as Proteas captain and Steyn ensured it would a positive one picking up nine wickets and the man of the match award.

The Galle pitch was relatively lifeless but nobody told Steyn as he sustained the same pace and hostility throughout his 21 overs in exhausting heat and humidity. Steyn went level with Richard Hadlee and Courtney Walsh for the most five-fors by a non-Asian bowler in Asia.

He backed it up with another 4 wickets in the second innings to give the Proteas a rare victory in Sri Lanka.

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Carl Lewis is an award-winning sports reporter with EWN Sport and is a sports contributor for TV and Radio.

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