South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 3rd day January 4, 2011

An artist with the ball

Watching Dale Steyn with the new ball today was like watching the fireworks display at the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve
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Dale Steyn's usual wicket-taking celebration involves air punching, foot stamping, vein popping, voice-box exploding, manic joy. When he dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara, it was all of that and more. This time the air was reeling from the blow it got, the ground was bruised by the kick and the joy looked more like overflowing rage that somehow blended with immense satisfaction. It may have been because Steyn knew he had bowled a delivery that was pretty close to being the perfect ball.

It moved more deliciously than a belly dancer, curving into leg stump, then pitching and straightening. The thud it made on Pujara's back pad was a death knell. If anybody ever needs to understand the lbw law, they should watch a replay of that ball. It was hitting the middle of middle stump. It had so much artistry and skill that Steyn could well be nicknamed Claude Monet in the future. The delivery had all the finesse of the famous Water Lilies paintings and the same hard edge as the Rouen Cathedrals works. Pujara should count himself unlucky that he was the recipient of such craftsmanship.

The conjurer of the ball himself didn't seem to appreciate his own masterpiece as much as others did. "I would have loved to have seen the stumps flying," Steyn said, although he did feel it formed part of his collection of good balls. "I've bowled other very good balls and I'm fortunate enough to have bowled another one today. I'm lucky."

The full range of missiles were on display in his opening spell with the second new ball, a seven-over burst in which he took two wickets for just three runs. Steyn with the new ball is as awesome to watch as a fireworks display on New Year's Eve, but Steyn with this new ball was like being at the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the stroke of midnight. The explosions of colour arrived at exactly the right moments. The movement he got off the seam and the shape of his outswingers were mesmerising. They puzzled the eye as much as they puzzled the batsmen, and it was clear just how good Steyn has become when he was bowling to Sachin Tendulkar.

The little master played and missed enough times for Steyn's class to be evident. That he scored 146 is a testament to Tendulkar's own brilliance but there's no doubting that Steyn was delivering his best to the world's best batsman. Suddenly Steyn v Sehwag and Zaheer v Smith seemed like sideshows. The intrigue was now captured by two of the best in their discipline grinding it out. Steyn said he wasn't putting any special effort in, despite what it may have looked like. "Sachin is such a good player that is there is not point wasting your energy on him. You tend to save your energy and bowl at the other guys."

Steyn was asked to call a winner in the contest he had with Tendulkar but he wouldn't do it. Instead, he asked the questioner himself to decide who was victorious. "You were," said the journalist. Steyn smirked, knowing that it's rare to find someone who will utter a word against the man who has scored 51 Test centuries. "Well, that's refreshing," he said.

That was a rare moment of self-contentedness for Steyn, who quickly went back to being a boy from a farm who doesn't want to be lauded as exceptional and played down his ranking as the world's best bowler. "I don't really think about it and it doesn't mean that much. We saw today that even Zaheer Khan can hit me for six. It all boils down to putting the ball in the right areas."

It may sound banal, but it is also an insight into how he has taken 20 wickets in the series at an average of 16.20. Behind every fairytale spell is a plan, and therein lies Steyn's true genius. The scary thing for the batsmen is that he thinks he can get even better. "I hope I can [bowl better]. I feel like there's something extra in me."

So far, we've seen plenty extra from Steyn. He dazzled with the new ball in both Centurion and Durban. His opening spells in both saw him claim the wicket of Virender Sehwag and the swing he got at Kingsmead earned him the additional wicket of M Vijay, who grew tired of leaving. He hasn't been as successful in the second innings of either match, but that may all change, given how he managed to get so much movement on the Newlands pitch. It was the one surface that was touted as batsmen friendly and today, a scorcher, was the day when conditions would have best suited the batsmen.

There were times when it looked as though Steyn was lacking in support, when Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Morne Morkel were not making an impact and Jacques Kallis' absence could be felt. None of that bothers Steyn, whose core personality is still rooted in simplicity. His bowling may be intricate but there is nothing of the sort present when he beams and says, "I'm just happy to be getting wickets."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 4:26 GMT

    A pace bowler in the Dennis Lillee and Michael Holding class.His brilliant stats and particularly his phenomenal strike rate prove it.(better than Marshall,Mcgrath or Lillee)In the modern era the pitches are hardly conducive to pace bowling which makes Steyn's performances all the more remarkable.May well end up amongst the top 5 quick bowlers of all,as he is so complete.In additionn to his graet pace he posesses great skills of swing,cut and seam combined with superb control.

  • on January 5, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    I am still under the intoxication of watching bowling of this Great bowler. I remember I did have the same feeling only when Shane Warne was bowling. So-called Master required to face 72 dot balls in 83 balls. So what need to call him? Master of the Masters???

  • Mark00 on January 5, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    While McGrath, just an unusually tall fast-medium bowler who lacked the ability to force wickets but found a line/length that provided containment and stuck to it, was terribly over-rated, Steyn doesn't get nearly as much respect as he should. He's one of the most naturally gifted fast bowlers I've ever seen. His extraordinary wrist action has to be seen in slow motion to be truly appreciated. It's the secret to how much work he puts on the ball. He's got all the tricks of the wiliest pakistani fast-medium bowlers but with the ability to crank up the pace at will.

  • on January 5, 2011, 13:18 GMT

    Dhoni's defensive captaincy has again ruined it for India. He has set fields that has allowed the batsmen to take easy singles and twos. Where was the control that India had in Durban ? Unless India strike soon, SA will reach 250 which will be a winning total.And Ishant bowled atleast one boundary ball every over. He is not able to generate swing and has lost his pace. India can think of Munaf Patel or Abhimanyu Mithun to replace him for the future Tests.

  • on January 5, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    styen was unlucky that he had got only 5 wickets in this innings, not get tendulkar out in his first morning spell. tendulkar and india was lucky that they survived the thundershowers of the new ball spell. i was amazed to see the ball of fast bowler moving like a spinner. he is true number one fast bowler or number one bowler

  • NRI- on January 5, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    Dear Raju

    In 2009, Aus was strong with Mitch J & others bowling great, their batting was good whilst Steyn had not realised his potential. Morkel was a rookie then. Now let's see Aus bat against Steyn in 2011.

  • Johnny_129 on January 5, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    Great, great bowler Steyn. BUT HOW CAN INDIA handle him a bit better - can't stop him taking wickets BUT maybe we can reduce the amount of wickets he takes and increase the number of runs we score of him - Australia has done fairly well against him. I think SRT had the right idea of standing further up to negate the swing and try and leave deliveries outside the off-stump as much as possible. After-all, Steyn can not bowl all day - he generally bowls 7 overs on the trot with the new ball - see that off without too much damage and India will be in a healthy shape. Also, Steyn only balls outswingers with the new ball, no inswingers. However, he bowls the outswinger in a corridor where he forces the batsmen to play. India's batsman will do well not to reach out (eg like Dhoni's first innings dismissal) - I know..easier said than done BUT India need a good plan against him.

  • anver777 on January 5, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    Superb display of bowling from Steyn.......even Sachin had some difficulties in facing him. Very correctly Steyn is "NO:1" bowler in the world right now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TheBigFatFlapjack on January 5, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    i'm really pleased (and surprised!!) that the Indian fans are giving credit where credit is due. Steyn is the bestest bowler on the planet today and I think when he calls it quits his legacy would be even greater than Glen mcgrath, wasim akram, imran khan and maybe even malcom marshall - for you have to remember he's playing in a batsman-dominated era and without truly consistent fast-bowling partners. steyn, keep it up son.

  • Pathiyal on January 5, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    dale steyn has always been a fantastic bowler to watch - any pitch in the world. even in the dead pitches in india, he could swing the ball both ways...something for which wasim akram is considered as a legend. this unit of SA is the best i could watch ever.

  • harshthakor on January 7, 2011, 4:26 GMT

    A pace bowler in the Dennis Lillee and Michael Holding class.His brilliant stats and particularly his phenomenal strike rate prove it.(better than Marshall,Mcgrath or Lillee)In the modern era the pitches are hardly conducive to pace bowling which makes Steyn's performances all the more remarkable.May well end up amongst the top 5 quick bowlers of all,as he is so complete.In additionn to his graet pace he posesses great skills of swing,cut and seam combined with superb control.

  • on January 5, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    I am still under the intoxication of watching bowling of this Great bowler. I remember I did have the same feeling only when Shane Warne was bowling. So-called Master required to face 72 dot balls in 83 balls. So what need to call him? Master of the Masters???

  • Mark00 on January 5, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    While McGrath, just an unusually tall fast-medium bowler who lacked the ability to force wickets but found a line/length that provided containment and stuck to it, was terribly over-rated, Steyn doesn't get nearly as much respect as he should. He's one of the most naturally gifted fast bowlers I've ever seen. His extraordinary wrist action has to be seen in slow motion to be truly appreciated. It's the secret to how much work he puts on the ball. He's got all the tricks of the wiliest pakistani fast-medium bowlers but with the ability to crank up the pace at will.

  • on January 5, 2011, 13:18 GMT

    Dhoni's defensive captaincy has again ruined it for India. He has set fields that has allowed the batsmen to take easy singles and twos. Where was the control that India had in Durban ? Unless India strike soon, SA will reach 250 which will be a winning total.And Ishant bowled atleast one boundary ball every over. He is not able to generate swing and has lost his pace. India can think of Munaf Patel or Abhimanyu Mithun to replace him for the future Tests.

  • on January 5, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    styen was unlucky that he had got only 5 wickets in this innings, not get tendulkar out in his first morning spell. tendulkar and india was lucky that they survived the thundershowers of the new ball spell. i was amazed to see the ball of fast bowler moving like a spinner. he is true number one fast bowler or number one bowler

  • NRI- on January 5, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    Dear Raju

    In 2009, Aus was strong with Mitch J & others bowling great, their batting was good whilst Steyn had not realised his potential. Morkel was a rookie then. Now let's see Aus bat against Steyn in 2011.

  • Johnny_129 on January 5, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    Great, great bowler Steyn. BUT HOW CAN INDIA handle him a bit better - can't stop him taking wickets BUT maybe we can reduce the amount of wickets he takes and increase the number of runs we score of him - Australia has done fairly well against him. I think SRT had the right idea of standing further up to negate the swing and try and leave deliveries outside the off-stump as much as possible. After-all, Steyn can not bowl all day - he generally bowls 7 overs on the trot with the new ball - see that off without too much damage and India will be in a healthy shape. Also, Steyn only balls outswingers with the new ball, no inswingers. However, he bowls the outswinger in a corridor where he forces the batsmen to play. India's batsman will do well not to reach out (eg like Dhoni's first innings dismissal) - I know..easier said than done BUT India need a good plan against him.

  • anver777 on January 5, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    Superb display of bowling from Steyn.......even Sachin had some difficulties in facing him. Very correctly Steyn is "NO:1" bowler in the world right now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TheBigFatFlapjack on January 5, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    i'm really pleased (and surprised!!) that the Indian fans are giving credit where credit is due. Steyn is the bestest bowler on the planet today and I think when he calls it quits his legacy would be even greater than Glen mcgrath, wasim akram, imran khan and maybe even malcom marshall - for you have to remember he's playing in a batsman-dominated era and without truly consistent fast-bowling partners. steyn, keep it up son.

  • Pathiyal on January 5, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    dale steyn has always been a fantastic bowler to watch - any pitch in the world. even in the dead pitches in india, he could swing the ball both ways...something for which wasim akram is considered as a legend. this unit of SA is the best i could watch ever.

  • Scube on January 5, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    From what I've seen so far, Steyn is definitely the best fast bowler since the 90s! McGrath, Wasim, Waqar & Donald were all great but were never so consistently threatening at this pace! Let's not bring Zaheer to this comparison! Despite being the best Indian fast bowler since Kapil, he can never be compared to Steyn! No question that Steyn won the battle against Sachin though he didn't get him out! It's the pure focus & genius of the little master that he survived both the spells from Steyn! I sincerely hope that Steyn isn't in the same form in the second innings! Otherwise, anything more than 200 will be extremely diffcult to chase!

  • Arok on January 5, 2011, 10:35 GMT

    Steyn, hats off to you for showing the world how bowl outswingers. I could feel through out the series no one was able to dominate Steyn, every time he came to bowl the batsmen just want to see off him. Wish you to continue to destroy & demolish batsmen around the world except against Indians.

  • Pathiyal on January 5, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    Well done, Steyn. Great going!!! Its nice to watch you in SA....fantastic display of swing bowling. A big Congrats to you!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on January 5, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    To watch him bowl is a feast for eyes, irrespective of the opposite team playing(including my own,INDIA) i always wish him to get wicket. i am watching cricket for past 15 years and i haven't seen a bowler like him( with exception of ALLAN DONALD) and he always reminds me of that greatest fast bowler of previous decade (ALLAN DONALD) and he is worthy successor to him.

    Would not like to compare him with Glenn McGrath as he was more of exuberance of discipline than display of attack.

    So, i think his bowling videos will be watched by generations to come and we will always tell our children tales of this great master of fast bowling

  • Paresh.K on January 5, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    Steyn gun. The best fast bowler i have seen in the last 5 years. This series just confirms my belief that he his destined to be Great.

  • on January 5, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    @Raju_Iyer: How many WCs has Steyn been involved in?? Only one, rite? How many have kallis and Tendulkar been involved in? Tendulkar- 5, Kallis probably 3 or 4 . It just goes on to show how these players bat for records. I can still remmber kallis scoring 48 off 63 balls against Aus in 2007 wc semi final when his team was chasing 350.

  • on January 5, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    @ kevinpp24 : I agree that steyn is d best fast bowler in d world...however how can u say that " India is lucky to survive in d series "...wat rubbish..??? 1st everyone was talking abt India needs to win away especially in SA to prove its no. 1 position...& now when India is doing well...u say " India got lucky "... My dear friend accept the Truth & Fact in ur life as i did abt "Steyn"..This Indian team is playing superb cricket....n by d way y we need to prove our position...Rankings speaks for it...n if that is not enough...we'll shall wait for d result...& " Mind u India will not only Survive...but will win d Series as well "...& will shut every1s mouth...but even after that i msure...there wld be many with sum other rubbish talks...

    & ya no hard feelings...even i lyk "SA" ....last thing but not least...." Bhajii will Destroy ur Batting Order "

    Go India Go !!!

    I hope this comment gets published....i dnt knw for wat reason my comments are not published each & everytym !!!

  • on January 5, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    Steyn once again showed why he is the No:1 bowler. I feel lucky to have watched this performance. Everytime he came to bowl I was worried as I was totally sure that he is going to get wickets with almost every ball he bowled. Along with the application, it was luck that helped India to take a lead. Thanks to the Gutsy innings from the great man SRT.I hope this test match will remain as thrilling as it is and there is a result rather than a draw..

  • Elkapitano on January 5, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    @ Nischal82.. with due respect to Steyn's amazing ability as a bowler, but if Wasim Akram did not get you interested in fast bowling.. i'm not sure what you are looking for ? Steyn is an amazing bowler beyond doubt (arguably), but greatness is to continue doing it for 15+ years. I guess, too early to term him great Anyways... his bowling in this series has been outstanding and i wish to see him play in England.. An absolute treat awaits us

  • prashant1 on January 5, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    @DNAPlay....the ball grounded before it went into Boucher's gloves. Replays clearly showed that. Which match are you watching?

  • Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on January 5, 2011, 7:54 GMT

    Dale is awesome and there is simply no comparison with anyone that I can remember. His precision is comparable to mcgrath but with that extra pace and wonderful away swingers he's much better than pigeon. India has never produced any bowler of such capabilities. Dale looks to me a ferocious hybreed of waquar, mcgrath & ambrose. he's the best right now, and by the time he hangs up his boots, he may be the all time best too.

  • kaboom on January 5, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    I think some of you need to be reminded that Steyn did get the better of Tendulkar on 49, where the umpire incorrectly ruled that the "Legend" had not nicked the through to the keeper......

  • Amol_Gh on January 5, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    I cant' even imagine what Steyn would have achieved in the 1990s - the Bowling Era - had he played then, if he did so much in the gone-by Batsmens' Decade.

  • Amol_Gh on January 5, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    Stupendous Extravanganza displayed by both the Masters: Sachin and Steyn. And a fantabulous supporting role played by Gambhir and Morkel for them.

  • Amol_Gh on January 5, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    Currently, I would like to see Steyn break the record of Fastest To 250 wickets (Tests of course, limited overs: I do NOT care.) Unfortunately there are not many tests this year for SA for Steyn to get many wickets but he will most probably get his 250th against AUS this Sept.

  • moBlue on January 5, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    i think sachin's "luck" was limited to the fact that when he made the mistake of "following" steyn's outswinger on the second ball of the day and edging it, the ball bounced in front of boucher just before entering the glove and that one of the two umpires saw it. @DNAPlay - one is entitled to one's own opinions, but not to one's own facts. ultra-slow-motion video images clearly showed, even according to the SA tv commentators, the ball bounce on the ground. hence *not* out! sachin learned from that mistake right away. he took guard one foot outside the crease - and pushed forward a bit - all day to counter the *very late* swing. the "early" outswingers posed no threat, and he shouldered arms. the ones he couldn't "tell", he ***stayed supremely disciplined*** and played the apparent line of the ball, without "chasing" it at all! ...which means, he middled the no-swingers, and was beaten by a mile by the late outswingers! *that* was not "luck"... that was the genius of sachin tendulkar!

  • Amol_Gh on January 5, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    I'm a Indian and I LOVE DALE STEYN. He is breaking and will break a lot of Test records. I want to see him break the 564-wicket record of McGrath which he may achieve within just 110 tests at the amazing rate he is chugging along. But that takes nothing away from our honest Indian spear-head toiler Zaheer Khan who is only unfortunate enough to bowl most of his spells on our home grounds which support mostly batting and spin but not fast bowling.

  • on January 5, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    What a magician. I LOVEDD watching him bowl although i was supporting India..haha. He will easily become one of the best fast bowlers to have EVER played the game.

    Steyn, there are easily a few million admirers of you in India! Now,please dont take any more wickets in this match so that we can win! :P

  • anikbrad on January 5, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    I have never seen such spells of bowling by one bowler throughout the day, not warne not murali not mcgrath nor even marshal. his 90% deliveries were unplayable. Probably he got 5fer not all 10 wkts as other batsmen were lilleraly to poor to even touch his bowl or got run out. He is the main difference between India and SA. He at this form should be removed from ranking as is simply as artist will bowl. Only one batsman in the whole world could have played him thats SACHIN and unlucklily today he was STEYN'S the opponent today.

  • rajneeshamin0101 on January 5, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    @Mark00. But thats the hallmark of a great batsman! SRT knew that Steyn was bowling brilliantly and the need to buckle down. Once he was off the attack, score runs off the other bowlers. In this sense, SRT won the battle. Batting is not only about dominating all bowlers, but defending and grafting when required.

  • anikbrad on January 5, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    I have grew started seeing hadly, botham,kapil marshal, imran. with experiece saw waquar, donald, mcgrath, akram, thsese were the very best but seeing steyn I personally thing this was the best fast bowling i have seen for along long time. A bowler at 145 bowling outswings from leg missing off. He reminded me more of warne not waquar as he got so much swing. if he bowls againgst any team at this form SA will will all matches ate home Only of luck and Indais batting stength he has 20 wkts. If he played againts SA on the same pitch he would have 30+ wkts at less than 10 this series. If Steyn can play just 5 yrs with this form he will be the greatest fast bowler ever born or played Till date I thought it was Akram or Marshal. He is simply unplayable. India dont be disapointed the way you have handled Steyn kudos to you any other team would have conseeded the series by now,

  • Waterboy_sixs on January 5, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    I feel little sorry for Sree he also got five wickets on the other day, nothing of praise for him, the pitch is tailor made for MIGHTY STEYN and he is an artist, but a medium pacer worked hard and got five wickets and he is just degraded as controversial and all the praise given to KING LEGEND KALLIS

  • kevinpp24 on January 5, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    I thought this article is all about praising Dale Steyn. Looks like lot of people jealous of Steyn. Common guys why are you comparing Dale with Zaheer? Mind you he still got couple of 5 wicks in India. To tell something to these biased Indian fans "India is just lucky enough to survive in this series"

  • shoonyam on January 5, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    I've discovered a nice name for the balls that got Pujara out, Steyn's "Vazhai Pazham Pandhe" (lot harder to say than the banana ball)...us hopeless commenting fans could put our lyrical skills to some use attempting to pronounce that. P.S:Refer to a Tamil dictionary.

  • DNAPlay on January 5, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    Ummm....the ball was clearly caught. The umpire missed the fact Sachin got a bat to it. Go look at replays like you suggest. it was out. The guilty party here was the South Africans in that they didn't appeal enough. Great article Firdose.

  • kingknight on January 5, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    had the 'little tall man' not survived and not shown his skill at batting, 'the steyn magic' show would have not been there. had india collapsed for 100 odd runs with a fiver or a sevener from steyn, wouldnt it have been so entertaining ... ny comments?.... steyn bowled a spell which would make any fast bowler proud and the master resisted the fierce bowling when wickets are falling at the other end. there is no 'win'ner in this though steyn has the marginal upper hand. sachin had his share of luck but his temperament and technique what he is all about. didnt steyn try his mouth too...

  • shoonyam on January 5, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    Steyn is the best fast bowler the game has seen in a decade. Pace, swing and other technical aspects aside, his temperament, consistency and fitness is what makes him THE best. And I doubt Sachin himself would have any issues in acknowledging Steyn's brilliance, talent and discipline, though a number of Sachin fans will have a problem.

  • on January 5, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    Awesome bowling. Superb Steyn carry on... would like to see fast bowlers challenging the batsmen...

  • DINESHCC on January 5, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    Two towering sixes from Zaheer Khan and one huge six from Harbhajan Singh. Is he a No.1 bowler?

  • Balajipost on January 5, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    I am an Indian supported and constantly shudder while watching Steyn bowl at Indian Batsmen. But,yesterday, I could not help myself admiring Steyn's bowling. What a privilege to be living in this age and watching Steyn, "the bowling genius", at work.

    To Tendulakar's credit he didn;t nick any. Remember, the batsman gets only one chance

  • Edmond on January 5, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    The fact that Dale Steyn has over-taken the great D. Lillee as the leading aggregate wicket taker (after 46 test matches) is testament to his awesome ability. If he keeps taking wickets at this rate he will be the fastest to 250 test wickets and will surely be considered as one of the best fast-bowlers of all-time! Long may he stay injury free!

  • on January 5, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    Steyn's bowling reminded me of the legendary Kapil dev who could entice the batsmen into his banana out swingers.The mastery of the pace bowling lies in the beauty with which it is bowled and he reminds us that Genuine swing bowling is in safe pair of hands.The only other SA bowler i have seen till date who could swing the ball prodigiously was Meryck Pringle who should have played much more than he eventually did.

  • on January 5, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    With out a proper spinner and a good third seamer, Steyn will end up lik brett lee or flintoff.. If harris is South Africa's best spinner, then God save Steyn from injury... Never seen such a bowling display.. It was like a one man army were others, including morkel, looked pretty ordinary when compared to this man... Of course Sachin was really lucky.. At the same time , he had to beat his own ego to score one of the best century in recent times. Had it been viru or anybody else, they would have easily threw the wicket... Sachin yet again hold the responsibility and did not bother to lose his dual with Steyn to take his team to a comfortable position

  • cric_lover143 on January 5, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    Incredible... it was absolutely incredible to watch some one bowls like that... Dale was just amazing... one of the best i've seen recently... but let me ask all those sachin bashers one thing, let us think the same scenario in a different way like Sachin facing the indian bowlers in this pitch and kallis facing SA bowlers in this pitch. Who would it be certain to hit a century??? not kallis... Even though i respect him a lot... not him.. not against Dale steyn in this pitch.. If sachin can negotiate Steyn in this pitch, he can easily handle others.. yes he did it with some luck... but who didnt... Kallis was really fortunate not to get an edge in the first innings.. Last but not the Least... We have witnessed some Great umpiring decisions in this match.. hats off to that guys... very difficult to be spot on when some one like Dale bowl with such swing and speed...

  • Raju_Iyer on January 5, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    NRI11- Australia did play SA in SA in early 2009 with pretty much the same team they have now and won 2-1 so I can't understand you prayer for SA to play AUS now ( Mind you, this was a return tour after SA had defated AUS in AUS a few months earlier ) . Why does everyone keep forgetting that cricket is a team sport. If SA have not managed to win the World Cup even once since 1975, inspite of having gems like Steyn and Kallis (and many other greats before them) , it does tell you something, doesn'it? For all those who scoff at India's ranking and this includes NRI11, they have to understand that to achieve that for a decent period of time, you need to play good overall cricket as a team- would you say you had a good meal if only one item in the menu was great and the others just so-so?

  • on January 5, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    @dynamite_kid and roy: are u kidding me? I saw that catch and he was clearly out. Bouchy caught it cleanly. He wouldnt have even appealed otherwise. as it turns out, the umpire gave it not out because he thought tendulkar didn't nick it, not because he thought it didnt carry to boucher. So when other players from other teams dont walk ala australians in sydney, then indians and gavaskar calls them cheats and lacking in sportsmen spirit. well look who is cheating now. No doubt indians dont want the udrs. Steyn the best bowler in the world followed by zaheer at 2 and anderson at 3. swann the top spinner.

  • Hema_Adhikari on January 5, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    What can one say about Sachin Tendulkar that has not been said already. I mean after all the hype and hoopla, he has scored two very high quality centuries against top quality pace bowling on green pitches already in this series. He is the best bastman since Don Bradman without any doubt and I think it is very possible that he is even better than him. We romanticize batsman of the past but this guy right here and right now, performing in front of our eyes, carrying the expectation of billion people, playing on all kind of surfaces and against all kind of bowlers, is arguably the very best we have seen and probably we will not see another one like him in our life time. Savor the saviour's feat, leave your narrow mindedness for a day and enjoy the sheer greatness of this miracle man-child.

  • on January 5, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    @StJohn

    No. It was a drop catch. Replays clearly showed that. Maybe, South Africans shouldn't have appealed in the first place.

  • The_Dynamite_Kid on January 5, 2011, 2:23 GMT

    @ StJohn - The ball bounced before Boucher caught it.

  • Chris_Howard on January 5, 2011, 2:03 GMT

    Steyn - greatest bowler since SF Barnes. Tendulkar - greatest batsman since Bradman. What a contest!

  • StJohn on January 5, 2011, 0:52 GMT

    Perhaps I'm missing something, despite all the praise heaped on him shouldn't Tendulkar have been out off the 2nd ball of the day? Maybe he should have walked?

  • Mark00 on January 5, 2011, 0:32 GMT

    The writing is a bit ornate and could be cleaned up a bit but it's absolutely spot on about Steyn dominating Tendulkar.

    Tendulkar's dismal scoring rate against Steyn of 27.7, compared to his 44.8 against Tsotsobe, and remarkable 89.9 against Morkel makes it clear that he was truly on the back foot when facing Steyn.

  • Nischal82 on January 5, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    I always loved watching good batsmen batting & was never interested in the bowling department. Dale, if you are reading this, be sure that you have made people like me get interested in the bowling department too. What am amazing bowler! Its a treat to watch the way you do all sorts of trick with the ball. Hats off to you mate. Keep your shine going! You have a bright future ahead! I would like to see that strike rate coming down to below 35, & I do not see why you cannot achieve that feet.

  • NRI- on January 4, 2011, 23:00 GMT

    I dearly hope that he can destroy Australia next time they meet. Bad umpiring allowed Langer to survive countless lbws against Akram in that so called victory. We have never seen Waqar, Imran or Steyn at their best against Australia. Now is the time the Australian top order is unstable and aging. Sadly, SA's selectors blundered by leaving the left arm great except for the third test (which they won) at home when he and Allan Donald were lethal. SA, please play Australia soon.

  • moBlue on January 4, 2011, 22:46 GMT

    you know, all this hoopla about dale steyn being the best bowler in the world [which i totally agree with] made me do some "research" on IND's zaheer khan simply for comparison yesterday. what i found was interesting. in the entire calendar year 2010, zaheer has been a mindblowingly good bowler, statistically speaking. he played 9 tests, out of which one was the last (durban) test, 2 were in bangladesh and 6 were in IND. so 8 out of 9 were on subcontinent pitches which generally don't help fast or medium-pace bowlers. yet, he got 47 wickets from 9 tests in 2010 at an astonishing average of 21.97! that used to be mcGrath/pollock territory! he took 313 overs for his 47 wickets; so he had a superb strike rate of less than 40 balls per wicket [*that* strike rate happens to be dale steyn's *career* strike rate! the best SR by any bowler in the history of cricket, apparently...] i didn't know zaheer was *this* good! did y'all? :-)

  • on January 4, 2011, 22:03 GMT

    Good Article.. He has truly gained respect in my eyes, a die hard Tendulkar Fan, with his performance and demeanour. It doesn't matter to Steyn what kind of wicket he is playing on, he just takes wickets :).

  • moBlue on January 4, 2011, 21:52 GMT

    if the ball that got pujara out was the "claude monet" ball, and i agree it was a stunning ball, then there was the dale steyn "van gogh special" [or picasso special... take your pick! :-) ] delivered yesterday too! i mean, who but the zaniest, insanely talented painter could even conceive - let alone produce - the following delivery? a ball drifts in with dale steyn's arm from well outside the off stump and lands at the good length spot right in front of harbhajan singh's middle stump. singh who was clueless about steyn's bowling [99.99999% of the planet would have been yesterday... sachin *barely* survived! laxman may have survived a while the way he was batting]tried an expansive on-drive. the ball swung late after pitching, curved viciously, and *almost* missed off stump! you read that right... almost... it kissed off stump without dropping the bails!!! then it settled in boucher's glove. umpire said, "not out". SA wanted to kill ian gould... but replays showed he was right!!! :-)

  • NP_NY on January 4, 2011, 21:42 GMT

    This guy is simply a treat to watch, although I am a bit worried about what he could do to the Indian batting line up in the second innings. For all the aggression he shows on the field, he seems like a nice bloke off the field.

  • P.James on January 4, 2011, 21:07 GMT

    Sensationalist and One -sided. Thats how i reacted on reading this article. Saw the match today, and read cricinfo's commentary to see if i missed something. No doubt about Steyn's efforts, but battle with Tendulkar wasn't as one-sided as you have described (in a poetic way). Tendulkar played and missed a few, edged a few, but most of those 48 balls were either well defended or well left. Cmon, give some credit to solid defending as well.

  • akshay4india on January 4, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    His modesty is outstanding. Even as a big Tendulkar fan, I could see that Steyn was all over the batsmen. Great to watch, I hope this provides a tight finish.

  • on January 4, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    What a player. No more to say really.

  • on January 4, 2011, 20:42 GMT

    He is by far the best fast bowler in the world at this time.... hope he can pull out the extra in him during the worldcup to cement his place as a great bowler...

  • on January 4, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    Steyn is just a miracle. Even now I remember his debut series where he was very weary and bowling so many no balls and wides. But the way he showcased his talent is so brilliant. The more important thing is He is so simple and respect others. Long live Steyn... in Cricket and also in our heart :-)

  • on January 4, 2011, 20:30 GMT

    Superb amazing fabulous steyn !

  • RanjithShettyJordan on January 4, 2011, 20:29 GMT

    Very good fast and seam bowling by styne.One of the best fast bowling i have ever watched in last 20 years.Without styne, today master would have sealed the series in india's favour.Great contest.

  • DonkieHoed on January 4, 2011, 20:13 GMT

    Yup, the world number 1, and well on the way to becoming one of the greats. GO SOUTH AFRICA!

  • on January 4, 2011, 20:13 GMT

    Dale is invariably the best pacer of all time.... He possess the charisma of Lillie, Thomson along-with the brute of Roberts, Garner and an accuracy of Mcgrath..... He's the inspiration of all the fast bowlers active in the world..... A REAL TREAT FOR A PACE-LOVING CRICKET FAN.......!!!

    Excellent Bowler cum Great Entertainer......!

  • on January 4, 2011, 20:13 GMT

    Well written. I wonder how lethal steyn would be if he starts bringing the balls into the right handers. He wud've easily taken 7-for if sachin hadn't faced most of the deliveries of his first 2 spells.

  • Kurapati on January 4, 2011, 20:03 GMT

    Steyn...The Man of Test Cricket in Modern Era!!!

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on January 4, 2011, 19:44 GMT

    Dale Steyn bowling is the main reason why I show such intense interest this test series. Cricket is just not as gripping when he isn't playing. Surely he has a foot and a half through the door of all time greats and is surely the best bowler of his generation.

  • on January 4, 2011, 19:32 GMT

    Dale Steyn, in my opinion, is exactly what doctor ordered for cricket- all formats alike! He is the kind of bowler, I, as a spectator, would pay to watch. His performance today was the kind of thing I have always loved Test cricket... nay, cricket... nay, sports for!

  • on January 4, 2011, 19:23 GMT

    That part of picking the winner was just too good. What a bowler this man is !

  • Kh.Hassan on January 4, 2011, 19:23 GMT

    Dale Styne is without no doubt the best test bowler playing these days. his consistency in taking wickets is awesome!!!!

  • Rahulbose on January 4, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    Simply the best, not since Waqar Younis have we seen such spells of swing bowling. But to correct something here, he did not just swing the new ball. Even the old ball was doing plenty in the air when Steyn was bowling. At start of the day Steyn was bowling with an old ball (50 overs) and the first over of the day was pure magic.

  • deepgill on January 4, 2011, 19:16 GMT

    There is no doubt that Dale Steyn is no 1. bowler in the world. Contest between Steyn and Tendulkar was really fascinating today. He was looking so threatning all day. One of the best fast bowling spell I have seen in long time.

  • RohanBhalerao on January 4, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    The 2nd para describing Pujara's wicket is "THE BEST" para I have read on cricket..! I am in love with Steyn after this show..!

  • FinchAtticus on January 4, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    This article barely does justice to the sheer brilliance with which steyn bowled today. I would rate this a 5/10. Just before the pujara ball, RaviSastri was commenting India has to survive 5 steyn overs to post good total. Nexthing u see, the unplayable delivery. It was sad to see rookie Pujara face the ste(y/r)n test. I wonder how Laxman would have faced steyn if not for that silly runout.

  • Quazar on January 4, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    Steyn = genius! Feel privileged to have watched him bowl today. What a New Year's gift for Test cricket fans...the world's best bowler and the batting maestro showing why Test cricket rules!

  • SurlyCynic on January 4, 2011, 19:07 GMT

    If there were more bowlers like Steyn modern batsmen would have to earn their inflated averages! Great contest between two incredible cricketers, give me that over a limited-over slogathon any day.

  • on January 4, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    steyn is the only advantage sa hv over india......the best bowler of this era....remove him n sa are just average...even tendulkar was lucky to survive him..

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on January 4, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    steyn is the only advantage sa hv over india......the best bowler of this era....remove him n sa are just average...even tendulkar was lucky to survive him..

  • SurlyCynic on January 4, 2011, 19:07 GMT

    If there were more bowlers like Steyn modern batsmen would have to earn their inflated averages! Great contest between two incredible cricketers, give me that over a limited-over slogathon any day.

  • Quazar on January 4, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    Steyn = genius! Feel privileged to have watched him bowl today. What a New Year's gift for Test cricket fans...the world's best bowler and the batting maestro showing why Test cricket rules!

  • FinchAtticus on January 4, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    This article barely does justice to the sheer brilliance with which steyn bowled today. I would rate this a 5/10. Just before the pujara ball, RaviSastri was commenting India has to survive 5 steyn overs to post good total. Nexthing u see, the unplayable delivery. It was sad to see rookie Pujara face the ste(y/r)n test. I wonder how Laxman would have faced steyn if not for that silly runout.

  • RohanBhalerao on January 4, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    The 2nd para describing Pujara's wicket is "THE BEST" para I have read on cricket..! I am in love with Steyn after this show..!

  • deepgill on January 4, 2011, 19:16 GMT

    There is no doubt that Dale Steyn is no 1. bowler in the world. Contest between Steyn and Tendulkar was really fascinating today. He was looking so threatning all day. One of the best fast bowling spell I have seen in long time.

  • Rahulbose on January 4, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    Simply the best, not since Waqar Younis have we seen such spells of swing bowling. But to correct something here, he did not just swing the new ball. Even the old ball was doing plenty in the air when Steyn was bowling. At start of the day Steyn was bowling with an old ball (50 overs) and the first over of the day was pure magic.

  • Kh.Hassan on January 4, 2011, 19:23 GMT

    Dale Styne is without no doubt the best test bowler playing these days. his consistency in taking wickets is awesome!!!!

  • on January 4, 2011, 19:23 GMT

    That part of picking the winner was just too good. What a bowler this man is !

  • on January 4, 2011, 19:32 GMT

    Dale Steyn, in my opinion, is exactly what doctor ordered for cricket- all formats alike! He is the kind of bowler, I, as a spectator, would pay to watch. His performance today was the kind of thing I have always loved Test cricket... nay, cricket... nay, sports for!