India v South Africa, 1st Test, Nagpur, 3rd day February 8, 2010

Paced to perfection from Steyn

S Aga
27

Click here to listen to the press conference

"He maintained mastery of orthodox outswing and inswing from a neutral position without telegraphing his intent. He was lithe, with a wickedly fast arm that elevated him to express status. Only in inches was he lacking - but he even turned that to his advantage with a bouncer as malicious as they come, skidding on to the batsman." Mike Selvey could have been writing about Dale Steyn, and not Malcolm Denzil Marshall, who took his final Test wicket, Graham Gooch, when the boy from Phalaborwa was all of eight years old.

Pound for pound, Marshall was probably the greatest fast bowler of all time. Doubters need only look at the tour of India in 1983, when his 33 wickets at 18.81 came against a batting core - Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri and Kapil Dev - that finished with 81 centuries between them. Steyn is no facsimile of the Bajan titan. His action is far more classical and side-on, where Marshall was more open-chested. But like his predecessor, Steyn can bowl furiously quick, and hoop the ball both ways. When he nips it back off the seam as well, he's nigh on unplayable.

The masterclass in Nagpur had everything, conventional swing with the new ball that got him the wickets of Murali Vijay and Sachin Tendulkar and a blistering reverse-swing whirlwind after tea that saw India lose their last six wickets for 12. Steyn's figures for that passage of play were 3.4-2-3-5. At the WACA in its pace-and-bounce heyday, it would have been eye-catching. On a relatively placid Nagpur pitch, it was mindboggling.

Ignore Virender Sehwag, a batting iconoclast. The other Indian batsmen faced 62 balls from Steyn, scoring 17 runs. That would suggest that he frustrated the opposition out. Far from it. Each man was worked out in a certain way. Vijay had already been troubled enough by the outswinger when Steyn summoned up the sort of incoming delivery that had detonated the stumps of Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell in the recent home series. Tendulkar had driven an outswinger for four in his previous over, but one pitched slightly shorter and a couple of inches closer to middle stump suckered him into another drive that only found the edge. It was straight out of said-the-spider-to-the-fly.

Even as he finished with 7 for 51, Steyn spoke with special fondness of the Tendulkar dismissal. "That one, and Vijay just before him," he said almost bashfully. "I worked him [Vijay] out quite nicely with two balls that went away and then bringing one back in which he left. That kind of stuff just doesn't happen out in the middle. We've really planned it.

"As a quick bowler, you know that if you pitch the ball up, you'll get driven," he said of the trap set for Tendulkar. "But when you pitch it up, you have a chance of finding the edge of the bat. I didn't mind being hit for four down the ground or being nicked through the slips. If he's willing to drive, there's a chance I can get a wicket. That's the risk you take when you pitch up."

Circumstances too played a part with the ball splitting open after 55 overs, by which time India had progressed to 212 for 4. Paul Harris and JP Duminy bowled a couple of overs with the replacement before tea, and then the fun commenced. "Corrie [van Zyl] sat us down at tea and said that the session after lunch wasn't good enough," said Steyn. "We didn't get the wickets that we wanted. We had the ball changed and once it started to reverse and we got one or two lucky dismissals, it just started a roll."

He certainly isn't the first South African quick to wreak havoc in Indian conditions. Even though he never delivered the sort of headline spell that Steyn managed on Monday, the great Allan Donald took 17 wickets at a paltry 16.11 in his four Tests in India. Lance Klusener once took eight in an innings at the Eden Gardens, but Steyn hadn't asked for notes from either before embarking on this latest Indian adventure. "To be honest, I haven't spoken to anyone like Allan," he said. "But one thing that does happen in our side is that information gets passed on. When those guys leave, they pass it on to the remaining guys. Information on these wickets and how to bowl in these conditions will remain in our team. It's up to the players in the side to actually go out there and execute the plans."

To be honest, I haven't spoken to anyone like Allan [Donald]. But one thing that does happen in our side is that information gets passed on. When those guys leave, they pass it on to the remaining guys. Information on these wickets and how to bowl in these conditions will remain in our team

The biggest part of that plan was reverse swing, something that Steyn had stressed even in the build-up to the series. "You're not going to get a lot of sideways movement off the wicket because there's not a lot of grass on them," he said with a smile. "You've got to rely on getting the ball to do something through the air. I said before that a ball bowled at 145k, whether it's in Jo'burg or Nagpur, is still 145ks in the air. The plan was to hit the deck hard, with pace."

India's extra-long tail was especially clueless against the kind of reverse swing that Waqar Younis once perfected. But just as lethal were the inswingers he bowled with the hard new ball. "It's something I've been working a lot with in the nets," he said. "I don't want to reveal all my secrets. You work on these things and then it's nice to see guys shoulder arms and then the ball cannons into the stumps. I got Bell like that in Johannesburg and that was where it started from. It's a skill that you have to have in your armoury as a pace bowler."

Sehwag took 34 off the 38 balls he faced from Steyn in the first innings, but was altogether more shaky the second time. When he flailed one to slip, South Africa's job of going one-up in the series was nearly half done. Emboldened by Steyn's post-tea burst, Graeme Smith hadn't gone the safety-first route and batted again. "Some of the guys wanted to know if we should go out and bat again and really take the game away from India," said Steyn. "Or whether the bowlers had enough energy to come out there and bowl for another 25 overs. It was a quick chat and it worked out quite nicely. We wanted to pick up two to three wickets and we were able to get two."

Five years ago, Jason Gillespie produced one of the finest fast-bowling performances (9 for 80) seen on Indian soil as Australia romped to a 342-run victory at the old stadium across town. That though was a rather more helpful surface, with tufts of grass seldom seen on the subcontinent. Without that assistance, Steyn did what Marshall had done so memorably at Kanpur in the opening Test of that '83 series, blitzing the batsmen with subtle movement at high pace. Steyn is hardly an imposing physical specimen, and it was an Indian bowler that Sunil Gavaskar recalled when asked about Marshall Law at Green Park. "He actually bowls more like Kapil, especially that outswinger. But he's about 10k quicker."

On largely lifeless pitches, that extra hustle makes all the difference. Unless Tendulkar produces the kind of once-in-a-lifetime innings that VVS Laxman played in the Garden of Eden, India will be out of chips and on the street long before this match enters a fifth day.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mmoosa on February 9, 2010, 21:26 GMT

    @Faisal-sorry, Shiaibs not an all-time great-the others are though. Steyn is different from the legendary Pakistani pacemen in that he is mainly an outswinger at good pace.Time will tell whether he can sustain these performances.

    Difficult to categorise Steyn-smallish in stature,,fast,coventional swing both ways,skiddy bouncer,reverse swing,aggressive and whole hearted. Cant think of a replica bowler from the past with all these attributes in one package

  • SeenuSubbu on February 9, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    @Faisal, most Indian batsmen who fell to Steyn were laid low by the nippy off-cutter, I don't think it was reverse swing. If you saw the replays, they showed the wristy action of Steyn that suggested an off cutter than any swing. Agree, fast bowlers have been the nemesis for Indian batsmen but then name a few subcontinental batsmen who have consistently come up winners against genuine pace bowling.

  • SeenuSubbu on February 9, 2010, 19:28 GMT

    It was never about the lack of Dravid,Laxman or Yuvraj. Had they been around, they would have gotten out the same way Tendulkar did, not that it mattered. What hurts is that our "pacers" were flatter and more insipid than even Kallis, who bowled faster than our "pacers". Steyn haunted the entire Indian line up with one patent off-cutter, he didn't get a single wicket off short pitched deliveries,while Harris could bowl his negative leg stump line and break the resolve of the likes of Dhoni, that too twice. Harbhajan hasn't picked up wickets against even the Bangla minions and he was still picked. Any God fathers can answer why?

  • Sakib241 on February 9, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    It took Aussies 2 years to recover some of their old strength. By the look of things it will take India 20 when Sachin, Dravid and Laxman retires.

  • Pathiyal on February 9, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    The ongoing test match reminds me of one thing - that Dale Steyn is a bowler who does whatever the legendary bowlers have done in the past. The comments by the readers are so frustrating. Rather than blaming about the incapabilities of the Indian batsmen, why don't you just give credits to this legendary bowler....and enjoy the action. Team India is young and is bound to learn from experience. No need to cry about it.

  • MVGLW on February 9, 2010, 2:29 GMT

    India knew before the series comments that they still could be number 1 if they manage to draw the series.India were going for a draw only.If smith batted again then he will cetainly waste time and India has a more chance to draw the match.It was a good decision to ask India to bat again as SA need to go for the kill if to be number 1 in the world.No one can retain number 1 if any team go for defensive. The best example is AUSTRALIA. They were never defensive but offensive always and that's how they retained number 1 for a long time. Well done SA.

  • Maha_Fan on February 9, 2010, 2:23 GMT

    After seeing Badri, I am convinced and reiterate India need Badri and Kaif, two solid folks in the line up after Dravid-SRT-Laxman. Badri and Kaif have test material in them and have been baked for higher test level via domestic cricket and in Kaif's unfortunate case many solid test performances that somehow always lead him to getting dropped. My heart goes out to Kaif (who yet again took Central to semis by scoring successive centuries) when he sees Saha and Rohit (who failed in Ranji) get a nod ahead of him. Badri and Kaif are the "Husseys" who toil and perform. We have to move over Yuvraj.

  • Roscoe on February 9, 2010, 2:08 GMT

    Waspsting: the bowler Steyn most resembles is Hadlee - gliding run-up, quicker, move it both ways in the air & off the pitch, average nearly as good, lethal. Hadlee made NZ a world beater in the 1980s, Steyn will do the same for SA.

  • manasvi_lingam on February 9, 2010, 2:00 GMT

    The ICC rankings are a real joke to have projected India as the no.1 team. And Steyn has the potential to become an even greater bowler than the likes of Donald, Ambrose, Waraw, Wasim, Walsh and McGrath. He is faster than most of the others on the list, achieves a great deal of swing and reverse-swing and he has bowled on extremely batting friendly pitches and still taken loads of wickets. @Shafaet: Indians also remember the next Test where Steyn and co bundled out India in little more than a session. And though India is probably a no.3, it is still the best Asian team around, along with Sri Lanka. Pakistan have a lot of catching up to do in Tests and ODIs.

  • Shash28 on February 9, 2010, 1:39 GMT

    Dale Steyn is undoubtedly the best bowler in the world... he' been on the curve ever since he demolished New Zealand a few years ago... I'm been sooo amazed by some of the comments on BBC with some Aussies claiming Bollinger and Siddle to be better bowlers? Consider Dale' age, he' advanced soo fast and with 5-fors in Australia, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka... there' no one who can claim is anything but the best bowler in the world today. One of his most impressive bowling spells though was the 2nd Test against the Windies in SA (after WI had won the first Test)... Steyn was injured and decided to slow down and bowl at 130-134... and still picked up 8 for the game... which really showed he' much more than a pacy brute... although none of us mind the nasty stuff... a Great, thinking bowler... who could reach 200 wickets before the end of the series... and that strike-rate is unheard of in modern times. Hope to see him and Morkel complete the job.

  • mmoosa on February 9, 2010, 21:26 GMT

    @Faisal-sorry, Shiaibs not an all-time great-the others are though. Steyn is different from the legendary Pakistani pacemen in that he is mainly an outswinger at good pace.Time will tell whether he can sustain these performances.

    Difficult to categorise Steyn-smallish in stature,,fast,coventional swing both ways,skiddy bouncer,reverse swing,aggressive and whole hearted. Cant think of a replica bowler from the past with all these attributes in one package

  • SeenuSubbu on February 9, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    @Faisal, most Indian batsmen who fell to Steyn were laid low by the nippy off-cutter, I don't think it was reverse swing. If you saw the replays, they showed the wristy action of Steyn that suggested an off cutter than any swing. Agree, fast bowlers have been the nemesis for Indian batsmen but then name a few subcontinental batsmen who have consistently come up winners against genuine pace bowling.

  • SeenuSubbu on February 9, 2010, 19:28 GMT

    It was never about the lack of Dravid,Laxman or Yuvraj. Had they been around, they would have gotten out the same way Tendulkar did, not that it mattered. What hurts is that our "pacers" were flatter and more insipid than even Kallis, who bowled faster than our "pacers". Steyn haunted the entire Indian line up with one patent off-cutter, he didn't get a single wicket off short pitched deliveries,while Harris could bowl his negative leg stump line and break the resolve of the likes of Dhoni, that too twice. Harbhajan hasn't picked up wickets against even the Bangla minions and he was still picked. Any God fathers can answer why?

  • Sakib241 on February 9, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    It took Aussies 2 years to recover some of their old strength. By the look of things it will take India 20 when Sachin, Dravid and Laxman retires.

  • Pathiyal on February 9, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    The ongoing test match reminds me of one thing - that Dale Steyn is a bowler who does whatever the legendary bowlers have done in the past. The comments by the readers are so frustrating. Rather than blaming about the incapabilities of the Indian batsmen, why don't you just give credits to this legendary bowler....and enjoy the action. Team India is young and is bound to learn from experience. No need to cry about it.

  • MVGLW on February 9, 2010, 2:29 GMT

    India knew before the series comments that they still could be number 1 if they manage to draw the series.India were going for a draw only.If smith batted again then he will cetainly waste time and India has a more chance to draw the match.It was a good decision to ask India to bat again as SA need to go for the kill if to be number 1 in the world.No one can retain number 1 if any team go for defensive. The best example is AUSTRALIA. They were never defensive but offensive always and that's how they retained number 1 for a long time. Well done SA.

  • Maha_Fan on February 9, 2010, 2:23 GMT

    After seeing Badri, I am convinced and reiterate India need Badri and Kaif, two solid folks in the line up after Dravid-SRT-Laxman. Badri and Kaif have test material in them and have been baked for higher test level via domestic cricket and in Kaif's unfortunate case many solid test performances that somehow always lead him to getting dropped. My heart goes out to Kaif (who yet again took Central to semis by scoring successive centuries) when he sees Saha and Rohit (who failed in Ranji) get a nod ahead of him. Badri and Kaif are the "Husseys" who toil and perform. We have to move over Yuvraj.

  • Roscoe on February 9, 2010, 2:08 GMT

    Waspsting: the bowler Steyn most resembles is Hadlee - gliding run-up, quicker, move it both ways in the air & off the pitch, average nearly as good, lethal. Hadlee made NZ a world beater in the 1980s, Steyn will do the same for SA.

  • manasvi_lingam on February 9, 2010, 2:00 GMT

    The ICC rankings are a real joke to have projected India as the no.1 team. And Steyn has the potential to become an even greater bowler than the likes of Donald, Ambrose, Waraw, Wasim, Walsh and McGrath. He is faster than most of the others on the list, achieves a great deal of swing and reverse-swing and he has bowled on extremely batting friendly pitches and still taken loads of wickets. @Shafaet: Indians also remember the next Test where Steyn and co bundled out India in little more than a session. And though India is probably a no.3, it is still the best Asian team around, along with Sri Lanka. Pakistan have a lot of catching up to do in Tests and ODIs.

  • Shash28 on February 9, 2010, 1:39 GMT

    Dale Steyn is undoubtedly the best bowler in the world... he' been on the curve ever since he demolished New Zealand a few years ago... I'm been sooo amazed by some of the comments on BBC with some Aussies claiming Bollinger and Siddle to be better bowlers? Consider Dale' age, he' advanced soo fast and with 5-fors in Australia, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka... there' no one who can claim is anything but the best bowler in the world today. One of his most impressive bowling spells though was the 2nd Test against the Windies in SA (after WI had won the first Test)... Steyn was injured and decided to slow down and bowl at 130-134... and still picked up 8 for the game... which really showed he' much more than a pacy brute... although none of us mind the nasty stuff... a Great, thinking bowler... who could reach 200 wickets before the end of the series... and that strike-rate is unheard of in modern times. Hope to see him and Morkel complete the job.

  • pankajkumarsingh on February 8, 2010, 21:51 GMT

    It was not a great performance. But 4 of your top planned batsmen are out - Laxman, Dravid, Yuvraj and next choice Rohit Sharma. I am not saying they could've done any better than what happened but an unplanned exit by top 4 batsmen when you are fighting for the top spot does play on your psych. Tendulkar and Sehwag are not God afterall. India is not undisputed no. 1. They will be fighting for this position with SA and Aus in years to come. I would not take away a lot from Indians for this poor performance. Three of the batsmen had 8 test matches between them. Two concerns - India's bench and bowling. I do believe India will come back in batting at some point. However, having spend so much time/energy/money, we arent able to produce any bowlers. This is India's best bowling team. One can only imagine what would happen if injury prone Zaheer takes another break. In closing, I am willing to forget this not so common batting failure. India's bowling is probably at its worst in 10 yrs.

  • on February 8, 2010, 21:19 GMT

    Oh so Marshal was great because he took 33 wickets against the might INdians in 1983, then what about Imran a year before that, where single handedly he won the series for Pakistan, claiming 40 wkts against the same mighty opposition? Pace is always a problem for Indians and pace with movement is the biggest one. Whenever the bowlers made the ball to talk, the INdians have collapsed. Time and again I say, Sehwag was almost but finsihed, when Asif found out the weakness in his batting, bat and pad gaps were exploited with ones seaming into him, for a year or so he stayed on the sidelines. That one match in 2006 was followed worldwide and then other teams followed the plan that Asif had for Sehwag.

  • on February 8, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    Now the World knows about "reverse cheating swing" :)

    Well this was for Pakistanis, when they invented it, Sarfaraz, who passed it onto the Great Imran Khan, who then passed it onto the two Ws, and then to Shoaib and now Amer is executing it. Whenever I read about articles such as this where the writer is in shock and awe, I just smile because we have seen it all in the era of our Greatest Fast bowlers of all time, Imran, Wazim, Waqar and Shoaib, to us it is just a repeat motion, nothing out of the extraordinary. Look at Waqar's first three years on international stage, day in and day out he would wreak havoc at the batting line-up. The day he would not, would become a news to us!!!

  • shovwar on February 8, 2010, 19:07 GMT

    Dravid or Laxman wouldnt make any difference given the way SA fast bowlers (esp Steyn) bowled. Dont forget what happend in the 2nd test last series.. Dravid and Laxman couldnt do anything and they were all out even cheaper......Plus Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar are not staying forever.....look at the next generation....SA by far are the best team in the world...and i can only see them improving from here on....with bowlers like Morkel and Parnell to support Steyn....test cricket has become more interesting!!!!

  • waspsting on February 8, 2010, 18:10 GMT

    If Steyn's added an inswinger, he has the potential to the best fast bowler ever. I was never too struck with Brett Lee, but Steyn is the one guy right up there with Wasim, Waqar, Donald, Ambrose and Mcgrath from this generation. Running through India on an Indian flat pitch is one of the hardest of all tasks.

  • starsagitarian on February 8, 2010, 18:01 GMT

    lets rewind back to the bangladesh series... shahadat hossain ran through the indian line up which included dravid, laxman and yuvraj (today's absentees) !! lets rewind few more months back... Fidel edwards and co and later anderson and co uncermoniusly sent back defending champions packing with some extra pace and bounce from the T20 world cup, making the selectors to rethink about Dravid for the champions trophy... !! what needs to be understood is that Dravids, laxmans and tendulkars are not gonna be sticking around for long... so with this so called bench strength still left untested... what will u do when transition finally embarks on u ??? what happened today was just a trailer of the events that will happen in the future... players dont know how to play bounce, reverse or conventional swing, no benchstrength in spin... all they know is to bat on featherbeds... !! wake up India... champions are not made of dibly dobbly fasters or fairweather batsmen... u need to prove more !!

  • Acting_Career on February 8, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    Bowling is India's weak link. India still have the best batting names in the world. Pakistan has few world-class batsmen but they have a bench full of fast bowlers who can wreck havoc on any team. It is their batting and fielding that let them down over and over and they failed to cash in the opportunities that bowlers created for the them. Pakistan finds their 90% of batting riches from Punjab, especially Lahore. A comparative gene expression study conducted by Pakistani scientist reveled that central Punjab was best place for finding fast bowlers due to genetic characteristics of Punjabis who were from the triangle between rivers Jhelum and Ravi. Sarfraz, Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Amer, Asif, and tons of other belong to that triangle. The point I want to drive home is why India has overlooked Eastern Punjab (Amritsar especially). This is the exact area where the fast bowling gene is being found. India should have fast bowling promoting clinics in that part of the country and in few

  • deepgill on February 8, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    There is no doubt in my mind that dale is number one fast bowler in the world. Spell bowled by him today was simply breath taking. It was so nice to see a fast bowler bowling fast and swinging deliveries on flat Indian tracks. It was one of the finest spell of fast bowling i ever seen on indian soil. The ball he bowled to sachin was real stunner. No way a batsman can play that ball. Whereas Indian bowlers lack pace and swing. Ishant sharma bowls at 130k maximum and even zaheer has same pace.Ishant doesnt deserve a place in indian team. India used to have good spinners but nowadays they dont have one. Harbhajan never takes wickets. I dont understand why he is still in the team. He should be dropped and chance must be given to others spinners. this really shows the politics in indian cricket team selection, when selectors keep choosing players who are not delivering at all and keep ignoring those who are doing good in domestic circut

  • schnoggs on February 8, 2010, 17:34 GMT

    India have always been reliant on their super 6 batsman and Dhoni at 7 - arguably the strongest batting line up in the world. But to be the best team in the world (consistently the best) you need the balance. Looking over the top 4/5 nations around the world, no one seems to have the perfect balance with SA lacking a spinner and opener, India lacking pace & depth, England lacking wicket takers in unhelpful conditions and a number 3 and Oz still need a 6 batsman and a spinner.

    All in all it makes it exciting for the future - but with SA's pace attack - who needs spin? SA didnt need it at the Wanderers and wont need it here. Steyn on fire is almost unplayble - he will be a legend.

  • Markvosk on February 8, 2010, 17:14 GMT

    We all knew about the fear Indians have of facing a fast bowler. Steyn just exposed an ages old weakness of indian team. Even the Author of this article also seems to be shivering while writing and thinking of Steyn's spell. How they became a number#1 team, they never produced a FAST bowler and never learned to play FAST bowlers and short pitched deliveries. Its about time to accept the fact.

  • schnoggs on February 8, 2010, 17:10 GMT

    Steyn is my some distance the best fast bowler in the world. He was half fit in the second test against England and only started showing true form in the third and final test at the Wanderers. He is what makes SA the best team in the world - that X-Factor and one can only imagine what batting will be like against SA once Morkel gets more consistency and Parnell develops.

    Makes me think what the England series would of been like with a fully fit Steyn - probably 3-1 to SA.

  • Shafaet on February 8, 2010, 17:10 GMT

    Real Shame on India. I saw someone commented after india's 1st innings that steyn is only good in destroying the tail. Let me ask, is sachin a tailender? sehwag? what about indian middle-order, who destroyed them? Gambhir said their pace attack is not less potent than saf's. Guess who's laughing now? steyn or ishant? morkel or jaheer? Why india don't accept that their bowling attack can't even match with saf's? India never ever had a quality fast bowler except kapil. Steyn is gonna be a legend, you can write this down now and recall in future. Steyn destroyed every single batting line-up except sri-lanka(with who he haven't played lately) both home and away. Who can forget what he've done in 2nd test of previous indian tour? But indians do forget and only remember the tripple century by shewag in a flat flat track. Open your eyes guys, you are not the number one.

  • Keval86 on February 8, 2010, 17:04 GMT

    Well take in mind that we didn't have Laxman and Dravid and lets face it with them India wouldnt hae been out so cheaply.

  • mmoosa on February 8, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    The missing link is Ishant Sharma-had he pitched in with a wicket or 2,the entire complection of the match might have changed.Mishra might have run through the tail,Zaheer looked good and Harbhajan is always dangerous. Either he gets his pace up and improves or gets replaced.Anyhow India should always think about 3 fast bowlers on most surfaces to become a true power.

  • on February 8, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    @ ccriccfan

    Boss, lets not jump to conclusions. As we all know, our batting lineup in this series is quite depleted with injuries to Dravid, Laxman and Yuvraj. Moreover, we had the option of playing only 5 batsmen and 2 wicketkeepers in this particular test. You never know.. had Rohit Sharma not got injured on the morning of the game, we might have scraped through today. Although this match is as good as lost, I still feel we have the wherewithal to bounce back in the next game and make it 1-1 and retain the No. 1 spot.

  • RahulSharma5 on February 8, 2010, 16:34 GMT

    Well done Dale, you are simply superb.Looking at Dale Steyn's current form i personally feel that Dale Steyn can pick up wickets even on the flatest tracks in the world.He was very very unfortunate not to get Collingwood's or Ian Bell's wicket in the 3rd Test Match against England after bowling exceptionally well. South Africa really outplayed England in the 1st, 3rd & 4th Test Match except the 2nd Test Match, they were the ideal winners of the Test Series however credit to England's Graham Onions who really didn't give South Africa to win the 1st & 3rd Test Match. However i really wish Dale Steyn all the best, so that he can become the first South African to pick up more than 13 Wickets in a Test Match beating Makhaya Ntini's record of 13 Wickets in a Test Match. I as well wish South African Cricket Team all the best to win this Test Match against India having a great opportunity in hand.

  • ccriccfan on February 8, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    Seems like Ian Chappell's words about India not being number 1 for a long time are coming true! (http://www.cricinfo.com/india/content/current/story/443658.html). I said earlier India's real test would be against South Africa in South Africa or Australia in Australia. Heck it didn't even come to that and South African fast bowlers ruthless exposed weak links in Indian team. So what is all the cheering about India being number one team? What is the point of BCCI raking in billions of dollars and can't even produce a quality pace attack? Shame!!

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  • ccriccfan on February 8, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    Seems like Ian Chappell's words about India not being number 1 for a long time are coming true! (http://www.cricinfo.com/india/content/current/story/443658.html). I said earlier India's real test would be against South Africa in South Africa or Australia in Australia. Heck it didn't even come to that and South African fast bowlers ruthless exposed weak links in Indian team. So what is all the cheering about India being number one team? What is the point of BCCI raking in billions of dollars and can't even produce a quality pace attack? Shame!!

  • RahulSharma5 on February 8, 2010, 16:34 GMT

    Well done Dale, you are simply superb.Looking at Dale Steyn's current form i personally feel that Dale Steyn can pick up wickets even on the flatest tracks in the world.He was very very unfortunate not to get Collingwood's or Ian Bell's wicket in the 3rd Test Match against England after bowling exceptionally well. South Africa really outplayed England in the 1st, 3rd & 4th Test Match except the 2nd Test Match, they were the ideal winners of the Test Series however credit to England's Graham Onions who really didn't give South Africa to win the 1st & 3rd Test Match. However i really wish Dale Steyn all the best, so that he can become the first South African to pick up more than 13 Wickets in a Test Match beating Makhaya Ntini's record of 13 Wickets in a Test Match. I as well wish South African Cricket Team all the best to win this Test Match against India having a great opportunity in hand.

  • on February 8, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    @ ccriccfan

    Boss, lets not jump to conclusions. As we all know, our batting lineup in this series is quite depleted with injuries to Dravid, Laxman and Yuvraj. Moreover, we had the option of playing only 5 batsmen and 2 wicketkeepers in this particular test. You never know.. had Rohit Sharma not got injured on the morning of the game, we might have scraped through today. Although this match is as good as lost, I still feel we have the wherewithal to bounce back in the next game and make it 1-1 and retain the No. 1 spot.

  • mmoosa on February 8, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    The missing link is Ishant Sharma-had he pitched in with a wicket or 2,the entire complection of the match might have changed.Mishra might have run through the tail,Zaheer looked good and Harbhajan is always dangerous. Either he gets his pace up and improves or gets replaced.Anyhow India should always think about 3 fast bowlers on most surfaces to become a true power.

  • Keval86 on February 8, 2010, 17:04 GMT

    Well take in mind that we didn't have Laxman and Dravid and lets face it with them India wouldnt hae been out so cheaply.

  • Shafaet on February 8, 2010, 17:10 GMT

    Real Shame on India. I saw someone commented after india's 1st innings that steyn is only good in destroying the tail. Let me ask, is sachin a tailender? sehwag? what about indian middle-order, who destroyed them? Gambhir said their pace attack is not less potent than saf's. Guess who's laughing now? steyn or ishant? morkel or jaheer? Why india don't accept that their bowling attack can't even match with saf's? India never ever had a quality fast bowler except kapil. Steyn is gonna be a legend, you can write this down now and recall in future. Steyn destroyed every single batting line-up except sri-lanka(with who he haven't played lately) both home and away. Who can forget what he've done in 2nd test of previous indian tour? But indians do forget and only remember the tripple century by shewag in a flat flat track. Open your eyes guys, you are not the number one.

  • schnoggs on February 8, 2010, 17:10 GMT

    Steyn is my some distance the best fast bowler in the world. He was half fit in the second test against England and only started showing true form in the third and final test at the Wanderers. He is what makes SA the best team in the world - that X-Factor and one can only imagine what batting will be like against SA once Morkel gets more consistency and Parnell develops.

    Makes me think what the England series would of been like with a fully fit Steyn - probably 3-1 to SA.

  • Markvosk on February 8, 2010, 17:14 GMT

    We all knew about the fear Indians have of facing a fast bowler. Steyn just exposed an ages old weakness of indian team. Even the Author of this article also seems to be shivering while writing and thinking of Steyn's spell. How they became a number#1 team, they never produced a FAST bowler and never learned to play FAST bowlers and short pitched deliveries. Its about time to accept the fact.

  • schnoggs on February 8, 2010, 17:34 GMT

    India have always been reliant on their super 6 batsman and Dhoni at 7 - arguably the strongest batting line up in the world. But to be the best team in the world (consistently the best) you need the balance. Looking over the top 4/5 nations around the world, no one seems to have the perfect balance with SA lacking a spinner and opener, India lacking pace & depth, England lacking wicket takers in unhelpful conditions and a number 3 and Oz still need a 6 batsman and a spinner.

    All in all it makes it exciting for the future - but with SA's pace attack - who needs spin? SA didnt need it at the Wanderers and wont need it here. Steyn on fire is almost unplayble - he will be a legend.

  • deepgill on February 8, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    There is no doubt in my mind that dale is number one fast bowler in the world. Spell bowled by him today was simply breath taking. It was so nice to see a fast bowler bowling fast and swinging deliveries on flat Indian tracks. It was one of the finest spell of fast bowling i ever seen on indian soil. The ball he bowled to sachin was real stunner. No way a batsman can play that ball. Whereas Indian bowlers lack pace and swing. Ishant sharma bowls at 130k maximum and even zaheer has same pace.Ishant doesnt deserve a place in indian team. India used to have good spinners but nowadays they dont have one. Harbhajan never takes wickets. I dont understand why he is still in the team. He should be dropped and chance must be given to others spinners. this really shows the politics in indian cricket team selection, when selectors keep choosing players who are not delivering at all and keep ignoring those who are doing good in domestic circut