South Africa v England, 2nd Test, Durban, 4th day

'We're going out there to have a go,' says Steyn

Andrew Miller

December 29, 2004

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Some words of advice for Dale Steyn from Graeme Smith during the seesaw Test at Durban Getty Images

It's been a pretty torrid Test baptism for Dale Steyn, South Africa's 21-year-old pace bowler, who has been forced to toil against England's batsmen on two uncompromising surfaces at Port Elizabeth and now Durban. And his learning curve got even steeper this evening, as he was sent out to face the media after another tough day in the field for South Africa.

Steyn, however, was upbeat about his team's prospects, after England's late declaration had given them an outside sniff of victory. "There's a good vibe in the dressing-room," he insisted. "We've got nine men in hand, we want to win, and we're going out there on the fifth day of a good Test to have a go."

Steyn's figures today made painful reading - 25.3 overs, 1 for 122. "It's been a tough start," he admitted, "but I'm willing to learn, and whether it's the hard way or the easy way, I'm up for it and looking forward to the challenge. I'll still be running in and getting in everyone's faces, and if it works it works - I'll still go home smiling."

Things got a little out of hand for Steyn during the closing stages of England's innings, as he was twice pulled for six by Geraint Jones, just out of the reach of Hashim Amla at midwicket, and ended up having to post a back-stop to stem the flow of uppercuts. "That's the way it goes," he shrugged. "Any other day he could have skyed it straight up and been caught by the keeper. I must have had 30 runs over the keeper's head. That's certainly the first time I've seen a back-stop, and he even saved four!"

But Steyn insisted: "Everyone's been amazing on and off the field. Polly [Shaun Pollock], Makhaya [Ntini], Jacques Kallis. And I've spoken to Allan Donald most mornings. It's made me feel really confident, and the captain has been relaxed all the time, even if I've gone for 20 in the over and there are still three balls to go."

If South Africa's task seems overwhelming, then Steyn was certainly not letting on, and he even managed to put a positive spin on their day in the field. "We looked at the game this morning, and we were almost spot-on in the sort of target we'd be set. Maybe we'd have preferred 30 or 40 runs less, but we've got enough overs and we're happy to chase."

Even after bowling England out for 139 in the first innings, there was not a glimmer of despondency in Steyn's attitude. "To win would be great, to draw would be fine, and of course no-one wants to lose. If we end up with a draw, then so be it. Hopefully we'll level up next game."

Andrew Miller is assistant editor of Cricinfo. He will be following the England team throughout the Test series in South Africa.

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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News : 4th day Bulletin
Players/Officials: Dale Steyn
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Grounds: Kingsmead
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