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November 11, 2007
Dale Steyn picked up Test-best figures of 10 for 93 to condemn New Zealand to a huge 358-run defeat in the first Test at the Wanderers. South Africa completely obliterated a feeble New Zealand batting lineup and, with the injuries they have suffered in the past 24 hours, it's hard to see how New Zealand can recover in time for the second Test on Friday.
It was South Africa's largest margin of victory (by runs), beating the 356-run win over England at Lord's in 1994. Back then it was Allan Donald who spearheaded their victory; today it was another young fast bowler, Steyn, who tore in relentlessly. New Zealand offered scant resistance, folding midway through the second session on the fourth day.
The one man who stood in South Africa's way was Scott Styris - after Stephen Fleming, who fell for 17 last night, New Zealand's most experienced and gutsy batsman - but he fell in the second over, gloving Steyn down the leg-side.
Steyn had his tail up and was roaring up to the crease, giving Brendon McCullum a particularly torrid time with a medley of nasty short deliveries, one of which rapped him on his arm. McCullum was offered an arm guard by the physio which he declined. Given that New Zealand's dressing room resembles a casualty waiting room, it was perhaps not the wisest of decisions, but McCullum is nothing if not a dogmatic character. He fought hard, uppercutting Steyn over the slips with intent before escaping with a mis-hook over the same region.
Having battled against the pace of Steyn and aggression of Andre Nel, McCullum threw his wicket away when he spooned a simple catch to Herschelle Gibbs at gully. It was a meek end to a gutsy innings, and New Zealand had lost their fifth wicket.
Jacob Oram, who injured his hamstring yesterday, played solidly enough before he lost patience, and Iain O'Brien became Steyn's fourth victim owing to a smart reflex catch at forward short-leg from Hashim Amla.
Steyn was visibly exhausted, puffing and blowing at the end of his mark, but snuck one past the vacant defence of Chris Martin to claim his tenth victim and a huge victory for South Africa. He was the difference between the two sides and, if the pitch at his home ground at Centurion is anything like as quick as this one, he could be in for another large haul on Friday.