Australia in South Africa 2011-12 October 22, 2011

We know how to bowl to Hughes now - Steyn

ESPNcricinfo staff

South Africa's spearhead Dale Steyn has said Phillip Hughes will not have it quite so easy on his return to the scene of a remarkably successful debut series in 2009.

Hughes made 415 runs in the three Tests including a century in each innings of the second match in Durban, a pivotal contribution as Australia took an unbeatable 2-0 lead. However Steyn said Hughes' runs arrived at least partly because the home side did not know how to bowl at him, and would be far better equipped this time.

''Not to take anything away from Phillip, he played unbelievably well against us when he came here and it looked like we didn't know where to bowl to him in all honesty, and that's, I think, why he got off to such a fantastic start,'' Steyn told The Age. ''England is the team that really sorted him out and since he scored those two hundreds against us I don't think he got another one until the last Test in Sri Lanka.''

Steyn said the 2009 team had bowled too impetuously at Hughes, in contrast to the relentless lines of attack England used in both the 2009 and 2010-11 Ashes series, in which Hughes did not once pass 50 in five matches.

''From what I remember we bowled too wide to him,'' Steyn said. ''One of the things we said was that we didn't want to bowl wide to him, and then we did. It was one of those childish things where you say to a kid, 'don't touch the frying pan, you're going to burn yourself', and then you end up touching the frying pan and burn yourself.

"The English side found a way of getting him out, and quite easily getting him out, so I will go through those videos. I'm a little bit wiser, a little bit smarter now. Obviously he opens the batting for Australia, so anybody who is a good player can score runs somewhere along the line, but he will definitely have his weaknesses.

"We haven't played a lot against him since then, so I will have to go through a couple of things and see where we went wrong and hopefully we can rectify that.''

Steyn also expressed surprise that Simon Katich was not still a part of the Australian squad, having lost his Cricket Australia contract in mid-year. Katich was also successful at the top of the order in the 2009 series.

''The way he moves around the crease, he is able to control where he wants to hit the ball. It's incredible,'' Steyn said. ''It's surprising that he is not there because he is one of those real Aussie players, a gutsy, strong character. He even looks like the epitome of an Australian opening batsman from years back.

"In a weird way I'm quite happy he's not playing, but you want to compete against guys like that, and for his sake I think he should be there.''

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on October 25, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Good to see the test mind wars starting. That is what makes clashes between Aussies and SA so juicy. They are both fighting teams, with both talent and passion. Although this series is way to short, it will not be lacking in drama and brilliant cricket from both sides.

  • Matt on October 25, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    I think Hughes would be a superb addition to the shorter formats. To me he's a slogger, he just can't help but swipe at the ball. Perfect for T20, not so for Test cricket

  • Christopher on October 25, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    Im disappointed in Steyn.He & the SA's said something similar before the 09 tour & were wrong.They have used every opportunity to propogate a myth about their bowling to Hughes in 09.They bowled 178 overs in the 1st Test & 200 in the 2nd. Given Steyns credentials,that of SA's 1100+ wicket attack & plethora of highly regarded coaches reviewing footage,it is extremely poor sportsmanship to continue this story.Anyone who watches the Youtube videos,Hughes 115 v SA and Hughes 160 v SA will see all these claims completely discredited.His batting was a masterclass.How desperate of Steyn to use England as his proof.Nielsens 09 pre Ashes theory was to match Englands lineup in style,man for man.It meant including an all rounder in Watson.To do this,he needed Hughes out.De Costa talks about how they forced changes to Hughes preparation,style and technique that were totally unworkable,pre Eng Lions game 09.Each occasion in Tests,he had to deal with Nielsen.Hence his 126 v SL when Nielsen quit.

  • M on October 24, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    @davidpk: I think the point meety was making is that the perception is he is vulnerable to the rising ball on a good line outside off - the one he fends off as he did in the case of the Strauss catch... but if you look at his dismissals, this only happened on 2 out of 9 occasions... that sort of statistic could say that every batsman is susceptible... his problem isn't so much how he plays it but that he needs to be more circumspect and NOT play them...

  • Nathan on October 24, 2011, 3:09 GMT

    @davidpk - you keep repeating 2nd v 5th but South Africa are playing Australia, not Sri Lanka, so I don't understand. Yeah I think you should explain what you mean because the the only explanation I can come up with is that you have no idea what you're talking about.

  • david on October 23, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    meety so other than the run out he as very unlucky get real. we normally get a good letter from u. unlike whats his name. as i said 2nd v 5th get my drift will explain if u cannot understand. dpk

  • Dummy4 on October 23, 2011, 10:54 GMT

    Go Steyn. Hughes is an absolute failure - at Grade level, at District level, at State Level and at Test level. How he continues to get a call is beyond me unless of course the reason is that he is a mate of Clarke. The sooner Australia settle on Marsh and Watson as our opening pair for the next ten years and let them grow together as a partnership like Hayden and Langer grew, we are doomed to have failures for as long as Hughes is in the team.

  • Marcio on October 23, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    This is a great chance for Hughes to silence his critics. All he needs is two decent scores. He was dropped after only two tests in the Ashes series, which was a bit harsh, then selected out of form for the last series in AUS, which was just stupid. He has had a huge amount of bad luck, in my opinion. But that goes in cycles. Time for some good luck. He'll come good.

  • kieran on October 23, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    @Meety: and you forgot when Hughes was out "caught" at slip by Strauss when the ball bounced; he was also caught down the leg side glancing. A combination of out of form, out of luck, and Nielsen in his ear telling him to change his technique. People think Hughes is a one trick pony, they must also assume that the Aus domestic bowlers are intellectually challenged seeing as he keeps scoring mountains of runs every year. Honestly, >5000 runs in 4 years (17 centuries) and people want to drop him for Marsh, who is injured, AGAIN.

  • Kaze on October 23, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    He can talk the talk but can he walk it. The more SA run their mouth against Aus the more they look like Darryl Cullinan about to face up to Warne. Usually it will end up badly. The way that Amla and Kallis have looked recently, I get the feeling that in Tests SA hopes will rest with AB de Villiers and if he fails they will get rolled over very easily.

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