South Africa in Australia 2008-09 December 9, 2008

Steyn rests injured hamstring

Cricinfo staff

Dale Steyn's entry into the tour will be delayed by a leg problem © Getty Images

A hamstring complaint has forced the fast bowler Dale Steyn out of South Africa's opening tour match against Western Australia in Perth on Thursday. Steyn's injury is not serious, but the tourists do not want to risk further damage in the one-day fixture because he will be a crucial weapon during the three-Test series, which begins at the WACA on December 17.

"He just picked up a little hamstring niggle in the Bangladesh series, it's nothing serious, we're just building him up into the first Test," Smith said in the Australian. "I don't think he'll play the first game. I think we're looking to probably play him in the two-day game." The second match of South Africa's build-up is against a Western Australia XI starting on Friday.

Steyn, 25, is the leading bowler of 2008 with 60 wickets at 19.41 and will head the visiting pace brigade, which also includes Makhaya Ntini and Morne Morkel. "As much as there is huge expectation around our bowling attack they are still young and they have a lot of learning to do," Smith said.

While Steyn can deliver outswingers at high speed, Smith said his best attribute was a "really big heart". "He keeps coming," Smith said. "A lot of people talk about his ability, his skill to swing the ball, his pace, but as a captain he's got plenty of character.

"He's a guy who's got a really big killer instinct. When he gets a sniff he's really got the ability to pick it up and make it count."