South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 1st day December 26, 2013

Steyn's drought hurts South Africa

On an unusually dry Kingsmead surface, South Africa's attack struggle to cope with their talisman's longest-ever wicketless streak
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Match Point: 'Disappointed to see Steyn bowl slower'

Dale Steyn began his fifth over the way he may have wanted to start his first. He delivered a snarling bouncer that soared towards M Vijay at almost 146 kph. Having already faced 17 balls and made some assessment of conditions, Vijay ducked under it.

It was as though Steyn had remembered who he was, with that ball. He followed up with another quicker one, pitched up, then one back of a length that jagged back in and hit Vijay on the arm, and then one he could leave alone on bounce. The fifth ball of Steyn's over preyed on the uncertainty caused by the previous four: with Vijay unsure whether to go forward or back, he was struck on the front pad. Steyn aborted his appeal when he realised it was likely going down leg, but he'd made his threat clear.

Why Steyn didn't start like that is anyone's guess. His first four overs were ordinary. His pace was down, he overpitched and he conceded 21 runs. Perhaps, like the rest of the South African attack, he was taken aback by the surface he was given. "It's very dry and a touch on the slow side," Morne Morkel said. "What surprised me is that after the 13th over, the ball already looked like it was 60 overs old. It's the type of wicket that's going to be tough to strike on."

South Africa would have known that much two days ago, when they first laid eyes on the Kingsmead pitch. Once the green mamba of the South African circuit, it has taken on subcontinent characteristics over the last few years. South Africa would not have forgotten this, even though they didn't play a Test here in 2012. Even so, they might have been stunned by just how different this looked from what they consider home conditions.

Steyn should have been the least startled because he has succeeded on decks like this before, Nagpur 2010 a case in point. Then, Steyn's aggression coupled with the reverse swing he got buoyed South Africa and led them to an innings win. Morkel admitted South Africa had been angling for something similar today. "We were hoping the ball would reverse a little more," he said. "We need to find a way to get reverse going."

There was some reverse swing but the Steyn factor was nowhere near what it was in Nagpur and it reflected on South Africa as a whole. Like him, they tried hard. Smith had a fine leg and a deep backward square leg waiting for the pull but it never came.

Morkel was the most threatening. He set the tone with a maiden when he was brought into the attack in the seventh over. He used the short ball well and found extra lift. After Morkel's opening, Steyn hit his rhythm.

Usually, it's the other way round and Steyn is the bowler who dictates the mood. Vernon Philander bristled when that suggestion was put to him at the Wanderers - when Steyn went wicketless in the second innings - and said it was up to every member of the attack to play their part, but you need only to think back to The Oval last year to remember the impact a firing Steyn can have.

In that match, Steyn made it obvious he was irritated. He hung onto the boundary boards in what seemed like discomfort and was spotted engaged in animated conversation with bowling coach Allan Donald. This time too, Donald was on the sidelines offering advice but Steyn was not as heated up as he can be. He jokingly signed a blow-up doll, did his fielding duties, and slowly cranked it up.

After Morkel's first over, Steyn operated in the right channel for the rest of the day. He delivered 12 more overs at speed, with better lengths, and gave away just 28 runs. An unhelpful surface, confident driving from the Indian batsmen and the impenetrable new wall that is Cheteshwar Pujara meant that the intent did not bring success this time. Not for Steyn and not for anyone else.

"We were guilty of maybe attacking a little bit too much. We didn't get balls in the right areas, we were a touch too straight as we searched for wickets," Morkel said. It did not help South Africa that, again, their spinner failed to play his part. Robin Peterson offered a first ball that looked like it could have come from Imran Tahir. It was a full toss.

He didn't get much better as the day wore on, leaving South Africa with what may become a more pressing problem in the future. If their spinner cannot take wickets, he should at least be able to dry up an end. Neither Tahir nor Peterson has looked like doing that in this series but Morkel stressed the attack as whole needed to be econimical. "If we are not getting wickets, we have to make sure they are not scoring," he said.

Frustration, South Africa hope, will bring some reward and there will be some crossed fingers hoping the fortunes swing Steyn's way. He last took a wicket 67 overs ago, in the first innings of the Wanderers Test. It is the longest Steyn has gone without a scalp.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • borninthetimeofSRT on December 27, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    The problem with SA lies in their too much reliance on the seamers. But that's understandable because bowling is their major strength. They do not have a quality spin attack to pose challenge to Indian batsmen who are good at playing spin bowling. That has been coupled with SA's under-estimation of India's batting strength. But that had surprised one and all, even no Indian fan expected such quality batting by Indians who at relatively new to international test cricket. We can't take anything away from world no. 1 and 2 bowlers, but this Indian batting order is perhaps destined to trouble more teams as they tour around the globe. There's nothing wrong in SA's bowling attack, but they are running out of ideas because of three reasons: 1. Their consistent line outside off has no takers, 2. Their short pitch deliveries have been attended well, unlike by Indian batsmen in the past tours, 3. Anything on the pads goes for runs.

  • on December 27, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    South Africans are too focused on ODIs these days. Ever since Dale Steyn has started playing more ODIs, his Test form has gone down. The same goes for Kallis, he's retiring from Tests simply to extend his ODI career; when it should have been the other way round. (Seems like the coach, Russel Dammingo, has manipulated him.) Look how well Tendulkar managed his workload: he played just two ODIs in 2010, yet he comfortably fit into India's world cup winning team of 2011. Kallis could have done the same.

  • DMK12155 on December 27, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    @ Vishwas HS : Styne is yet to prove himself in Sri Lanka mate! In SL conditions he has gone for plenty of runs. SL batters anyway struggle agains "Fast" bowling. but Styne has gone for plenty. I agree with you for one thing. Styne is a way better bowler than Johnson by all means.

  • humdrum on December 27, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    It appears that the crybaby Philander is yet to realise that life is not exactly about playing on green,seaming wickets and rake 'em in but also bowling on 'dry dust bowls(and batting on them for that matter) and prove yourself every bit as manly as you do on green tops and bouncy wickets.It is not quite a waste of time as the late,lamented Hansie Cronje used to say. Cricket is an examination of your skill sets in different conditions and on different types of wkts,and test cricket more so.Funny how some people never grow up at all.

  • GRVJPR on December 27, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    Its just the ordinary batting line ups around the world that make ordinary bowlers like STEYN looks GREAT. He is just an ordinary outswing bowler who is too dependent on conditionjs.

  • on December 27, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    That's the power of indian batting....they only destroy the world best bowlers like Breet lee,Ajmal,Mendis,broad, now Steyn etc....But they r easily fall in the new comers........no one Underestimate INDIANS .....We r Rocking in ODI only Every one saying now wat u talk abt this Series Who's Playing better than others tell Me guys......Hereafter We r Also Rocking in TEST Format not only in INDIA all over the world ......Most Runs By A Team In ODI Cricket : India (1,83,000+)

    Most 300+ Totals By A Team In ODI Cricket : India (77 times)

    Most Sixes By A Team In ODI Cricket:India (2000+)

    Most Fours By A Team In ODI Cricket: India (15008)

    PROUD TO BE INDIAN FAN !

  • on December 27, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    I wonder who chose these venues for India series, where SA is finding alien conditions in their own country. Is it why Lorgat was sidelined before the series?

  • on December 27, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    Steyn must add the inswinger into his armoury. The Indians are all to ready to leave balls outside off stump. He must really start bowling them and use his lethal outswinger as surprise. The Durban curator is not a Protea fan though

  • ambrosefan on December 27, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    Steyn needs to work on getting more of cutters, in swing, leg cutters. He needs variety in his attack else good batsmen will read him well and play accordingly.

  • yoohoo on December 27, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    @Sir_Ivor - No disrespect, but pakistan batting is not international standard. A batsman makes his name by playing well against Aussie, English, SA and Pak bowling (and Ind and SL for spin). A bowler makes his name by performing well against SA, Ind, Eng and Aussie batting.

  • borninthetimeofSRT on December 27, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    The problem with SA lies in their too much reliance on the seamers. But that's understandable because bowling is their major strength. They do not have a quality spin attack to pose challenge to Indian batsmen who are good at playing spin bowling. That has been coupled with SA's under-estimation of India's batting strength. But that had surprised one and all, even no Indian fan expected such quality batting by Indians who at relatively new to international test cricket. We can't take anything away from world no. 1 and 2 bowlers, but this Indian batting order is perhaps destined to trouble more teams as they tour around the globe. There's nothing wrong in SA's bowling attack, but they are running out of ideas because of three reasons: 1. Their consistent line outside off has no takers, 2. Their short pitch deliveries have been attended well, unlike by Indian batsmen in the past tours, 3. Anything on the pads goes for runs.

  • on December 27, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    South Africans are too focused on ODIs these days. Ever since Dale Steyn has started playing more ODIs, his Test form has gone down. The same goes for Kallis, he's retiring from Tests simply to extend his ODI career; when it should have been the other way round. (Seems like the coach, Russel Dammingo, has manipulated him.) Look how well Tendulkar managed his workload: he played just two ODIs in 2010, yet he comfortably fit into India's world cup winning team of 2011. Kallis could have done the same.

  • DMK12155 on December 27, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    @ Vishwas HS : Styne is yet to prove himself in Sri Lanka mate! In SL conditions he has gone for plenty of runs. SL batters anyway struggle agains "Fast" bowling. but Styne has gone for plenty. I agree with you for one thing. Styne is a way better bowler than Johnson by all means.

  • humdrum on December 27, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    It appears that the crybaby Philander is yet to realise that life is not exactly about playing on green,seaming wickets and rake 'em in but also bowling on 'dry dust bowls(and batting on them for that matter) and prove yourself every bit as manly as you do on green tops and bouncy wickets.It is not quite a waste of time as the late,lamented Hansie Cronje used to say. Cricket is an examination of your skill sets in different conditions and on different types of wkts,and test cricket more so.Funny how some people never grow up at all.

  • GRVJPR on December 27, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    Its just the ordinary batting line ups around the world that make ordinary bowlers like STEYN looks GREAT. He is just an ordinary outswing bowler who is too dependent on conditionjs.

  • on December 27, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    That's the power of indian batting....they only destroy the world best bowlers like Breet lee,Ajmal,Mendis,broad, now Steyn etc....But they r easily fall in the new comers........no one Underestimate INDIANS .....We r Rocking in ODI only Every one saying now wat u talk abt this Series Who's Playing better than others tell Me guys......Hereafter We r Also Rocking in TEST Format not only in INDIA all over the world ......Most Runs By A Team In ODI Cricket : India (1,83,000+)

    Most 300+ Totals By A Team In ODI Cricket : India (77 times)

    Most Sixes By A Team In ODI Cricket:India (2000+)

    Most Fours By A Team In ODI Cricket: India (15008)

    PROUD TO BE INDIAN FAN !

  • on December 27, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    I wonder who chose these venues for India series, where SA is finding alien conditions in their own country. Is it why Lorgat was sidelined before the series?

  • on December 27, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    Steyn must add the inswinger into his armoury. The Indians are all to ready to leave balls outside off stump. He must really start bowling them and use his lethal outswinger as surprise. The Durban curator is not a Protea fan though

  • ambrosefan on December 27, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    Steyn needs to work on getting more of cutters, in swing, leg cutters. He needs variety in his attack else good batsmen will read him well and play accordingly.

  • yoohoo on December 27, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    @Sir_Ivor - No disrespect, but pakistan batting is not international standard. A batsman makes his name by playing well against Aussie, English, SA and Pak bowling (and Ind and SL for spin). A bowler makes his name by performing well against SA, Ind, Eng and Aussie batting.

  • on December 27, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    now styne must come with New statements.... lol.. India learnt that you don't underestimate your opponent in England series, now it's saffas time....

  • Just_Sam on December 27, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    Basically, the problem lies with the SA thinking. After ODIs, whole world and more of SA players and public thought that SA will roll over India in tests. But now India, after spending so much time in SA have aligned themselves with the ground and pitch conditions which was missing during ODIs. They are able to score easy runs and not much bothered by the so called FEARED SA pace attack. This has completely baffled SA pace attack and more so Steyn who is not able to take a single wicket for the last 67 overs. Since he made lots of nasty comments before the Tests began, he is feeling the heat more and the frustration is easily visible in his bowling. "NEVER UNDER ESTIMATE YOUR OPPONENT" . If only SA had paid attention to this old saying.

  • on December 27, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    So much for Peterson. I would rather have an accurate medium pacer who can swing it. Why this insistance that spin is the only way to slow the run rate? Accuracy slows the run rate and if your spinners aren't accurate they're pointless.

  • on December 27, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    the fact that I said saffas are one dimensional bowling is because they are close to ineffective when they are provided a pitch which is little bit helpful to batting, only styne looks effective throughout the day, morkel is effective when the ball is hard so that he gets steep bounce, once the ball is 40 overs old, he can be played easy, philander doesn't enjoy sunshine, doesn't enjoy old ball, doesn't enjoy slightest of help for batting on the pitch... styne knows how to revere the ball, and kallis is above morkel when it comes to reverse swing, philander must not have heard what reverse swing is all about.... and coming to spin department.... well they literally don't have any spinners , tahir might run through tail enders in spinning condition, but who. goes through top order?? less said is the better about Peterson and Johan botha..... saffas will have serious problem when they tour India and Lanka if they come with these spinners.....

  • on December 27, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    those who are saying Johnson is better than styne should take some rest.... Johnson is one series wonder or we might say one season wonder, just saw how effective he was in flat tracks when Indian batting ripped through him when they chased 350 runs twice..styne is miles ahead of any bowler right now. it's just India have.outplayed him, or his arrogance let him down.... philander is no where close to styne,Harris, siddle.... philander is just as good as mediocre bowler when the ball is just 15overs old and when there is even a little bit of sunshine.... he just enjoys overcast conditions and grazing fields..... coming to styne. every bowlers reaches bad form at some stage, have to see how he overcomes this... nearly 350 wickets in 60+ matches is no ordinary feet.... he has proved himself in every part of the world.. the fact that he got reverse swing yesterday is very good to see, I haven't seen him reversing for a while..... having said that this saffas attack is 1 dimensional

  • Sir_Ivor on December 27, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    I find it strange at this feeling that unless cricket is played on bouncy wickets or in rainy conditions as they have in England, it is not cricket.It is surprising that even people from the subcontinent seem to think that playing well on sub-continent wickets is not relevant. It must be accepted that it is only in recent times that teams from the sub-continent have started winning in England,Australia and South Africa. ndia won the World Cup in England in 1983,and Pakistan in Australia in 1992.Apparently, those wins were seen as flukes.The cricketing world should get used to the fact that the epicentre of the game is changing and teams from the sub continent are getting equal to the task of playing in alien conditions.In such a scenario,I don't think anyone should complain if the Kingsmead pitch is not like a usual South African one.Just because South Africa has not done well at Durban for a long time.Pakistan played at the Centurion, Newlands and Port Elizabeth and still lost.

  • on December 27, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    @ Cricket_is_Unpopular. you're wrong there, steyn's consistently in the mid 140's if he wants to, else he is in the high 130's range with prodigious late swing out. when the ball is new and swinging, he chooses the swing approach. Later on he hits the deck hard on good length just outside off at 145.

  • jonesy2 on December 27, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    ive been saying it for ages, south africas bowling which is pretty strong is also a huge weakness because after steyn there is virtually nothing except on a seaming wicket when philander is dangerous but on any other surface if steyn doesn't produce SA are impotent, Adelaide last year is a classic example so is this Durban test match.

  • Sir_Ivor on December 27, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    I am a bit surprised that so much is being made of the Kingsmead pitch.When South Africa went to Australia in 2012,the wickets at Brisbane and Adelaide were the same.Steyn and co were nullified quite effectively.People wondered where the most feared bowling in the world had gone. Now we all know that in Australia, everyone is pretty nationalistic.So without any particular instruction the wickets at the Gabba and the Adelaide Oval were batting beauties.When they imagined that Australia were capable of matching South Africa at home,the had a normal wicket at the WACA in Perth.Australia was thrashed roundly and normal services had been restored.The fact of the matter is that Dale Steyn,Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel have not lost their skills.It is just that the Indian batsman have realised how to combat South African conditions and are doing better than expected.Winning the toss may also have helped them. It mustn't be forgotten that the same attack thrashed Pakistan earlier this year

  • on December 27, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    I would have still played Tahir on this track purely because he could turn the ball bigger than Peterson on a much more spin friendly wicket.. Also, he can take a couple of quick tail end wickets.. With Steyn in such poor form and Philander rendered virtually impotent by the track and Kallis retiring at the end of this match, should Morkel now assume the lead role?? Given the fact that he is the only wicket taking bowler in the SA team, Tahir should have played.. Philander and Steyn could have contained the batsmen and Tahir and Morkel could have wrecked havoc.. But then this SA team is no Australia of the 90's..

  • on December 27, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    The pace bowlers of the Clive Lloyd era never bothered about the surface. Nor did they sledge. They dominated wherever they went. Be it the slow low surfaces of India or the bouncy surface of Australia. Neither did the McGrath / Warne combo ever bother about the surface. Why so much concern about the surface on offer?

  • Srini_Indian on December 27, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    Steyn is a great bowler, no doubt. This series doesn't change that fact and the only change it may bring is Steyn will cautious of the choice of words he uses to talk about India next time. Lines like "Indian batsmen are scared and scarred", "This is not Mumbai" now seems funny and I'm sure Steyn will b embarrassed for it. The other thing is people always talk about Nagpur 2010 lot of times to show Steyn's performance in slow pitches, it also has to be noted that Dravid and Laxman, two stalwarts of Indian batting then, didn't play in that match. That played a crucial role in that match. Imagine the SA batting without Amla and AB.

  • on December 27, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    Regardless of the team you support, you do want to see a good contest and credit being given where it's due. The first innings at Wanderers was a perfect example of the former. However, the moment Philander started moaning about cloud cover and pitch getting difficult then easier, you got the sense that he is taking too much for granted and has ways to go before rightfully claiming the mantle of the world's premier fast/medium bowler. You cast your mind back to Wasim and Waqar and even Anderson and Simon in "The Ashes" where they took the pitch out of the equation. That is where true greatness lies - when every single factor is stacked against you. Unfortunately, I don't think Philander has had that sort of a grind yet and it's difficult to appreciate his current ranking. Morkel lacks variety and, therefore, any team that can be as disciplined as India has been can put this particular attack under some serious stress.

  • Blackholesun on December 27, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    Just one series failure and so much talk / analysis about his bowling ! If batsmen can have a dull series why can't the bowlers?

    I think he has already proven himself all over the world. Just accepts it as one of the series failure and move on guys !

  • humdrum on December 27, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    So the realisation is slowly dawning that:(1) SA have a uni-dimensional attack.(2) This attack is struggling in their own home conditions(3)Since they lack test quality spinners,it is more than likely that in overseas conditions helping spin,they will struggle big time.(4)Once the pace attack has been blunted,they don't have a plan'B'. This could be the beginning of the decline for them. The aussies will lift the veil.

  • Nampally on December 27, 2013, 2:28 GMT

    There was too much "hoopla" made of Steyn's bowling & him being the best fast bowler in the world! India is coming here after facing Johnson at his best in the range of 150+ KPH. Media poo-poohed it saying "Ah, that was on Flat Indian track". On SA tracks it is an entirely different. Indian batsmen Pujara & Kohli surprised the media with unbelievable performances. India played the first test & from a winning position they nearly lost it - due to having only 4 Bowlers! Einstien defined Lunacy as the "Repeating the same blunders but expecting optimistic results". Dhoni's mistakes in XI selection fits this description. You cannot play a 5 day Tests with 4 specialist bowlers & expect the tired legs to perform in the 4th innings. ZAK is 35 years old. He can bowl in the 4th innings but not with the same ZIP. India will bat well again but will find it hard to take 20 SA wickets. Had Dhoni played one more bowler, India would have won both the Tests & toppled SA from #1. Captaincy Blunders -Eh!

  • on December 27, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    This makes me wonder just how good Pakistan's bowling attack is...you take them to a green track ,they have quality fast bowlers who can bowl fast and swing the ball ...you take them to a slow and a spinning track, they have spinners that make life hell for the batsman and choke them up...it makes me proud to be honest...if only our batting starts performing every match...Pakistan will be hard to beat as they are still a force to reckon with because of their best in the world bowling attack...the signs of Pakistan's batting coming of age are there as sohaib maqsood ,ahmed shehzad have started to perform...now if umar akmal and one more batsman either sharjeel or nasir jamshed or any other talented youngster start performing regularly...i am convinced pakistan will be THE team to beat...

  • SHER-A-PANJAB on December 27, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    Does matter what kind surface is this , world no.1 bowler must take wicket but Dale is fail again .SAF has to introduce Kyle ABBOTT here .But SMITH is completely a failed ,choked captain ,why did he leave Elgar out.poooor

  • on December 27, 2013, 2:17 GMT

    Why not Phangiso? I remember he had a very successful champions league. He even troubled the great man Sachin.

  • Dragonboyz on December 27, 2013, 1:14 GMT

    OMG Guys give a break. Steyn is struggling but every bowler will undergo a lean patch sometime in their career. I am an Indian fan and some comments are very immature saying Mitchell Johnson is a fast bowler and Steyn is not. I like MG for the past couple of months in Ashes before that for 3 to 4 years he is a liability to Australia.Steyn is a consistent performer for SA in almost all conditions. Indian batsmen played very well but dont belittle Steyn instead praise the new breed Indian batsman.He has the experience to assess the situation and he will come back strong. Great Bowlers wont go toothless within span of a series. I will support Steyn, Morkel and Philander bowling always. When they are on song no batsmen can stay long

  • moBlue on December 27, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    bowling standards have dipped a lot over the decades!!!

    i can't imagine marshall and garner - or imran and sarfraz, or younis and akram, either, not to mention thomson and lillee - just meekly surrendering within the first half hour like steyn and philander - allegedly the #1 and #2 fast bowlers in the world - did yesterday!

    even my formidable grandMa would have easily ducked under those harmless bouncers from the duo! i thought morkel and kallis packed a bigger punch.

    time was when *i* was worried and scared as a 12-year old or so - while listening on the radio, mind you! - to marshall toying with a gavaskar in the caribbean, before he inevitably got him fending at one off his rib-cage into the hands of a welcoming square leg... this off the formidable unafraid gavaskar who faced up to the WI bowlers' combined might in their heyday without a helmet, and scored many a brilliant ton against them!!!

    sunny would have cut and driven this hapless SA attack yesterday to oblivion!!!

  • righthandbat on December 27, 2013, 0:32 GMT

    Everyone in sport will have a few ups and downs, even the greats and Steyn - now nearly 31 years old, was likely to have some poor matches at some point. India have magnified this by batting incredibly well - against a less determined batting line-up Steyn would have gotten a wicket or two through poor shot selection and nothing would be said. Steyn perhaps would benefit from some time out of the game - but unfortunately for him another very tough opponent in Australia arrives soon.

  • class9ryan on December 27, 2013, 0:21 GMT

    Simply shows how the South Africans depend on Steyn, he hasn't been picking wickets but his economy rates are worse than the ODI games, hoping he could be atleast back in some form

  • GreenBouncySpin on December 27, 2013, 0:09 GMT

    Is it possible that Steyn is just being Steyn (a great bowler that is) but Indian batsmen are not giving anything away to him? I agree that a bowler can have off days and steyn could probably be having one. But to go wicketless for 67 overs straight is not having an 'off day'. Its purely because the batsmen fought hard with great concentration/dedication and probably some luck (very little may be) going their way. So I would suggest to stop suggesting Steyn to bowl better - he may as well be bowling the best he has ever bowled and still not getting wickets. Simple as that !!

  • I_Love_My_India on December 26, 2013, 23:41 GMT

    I watched this test match and I felt like every over of Steyn (barring a few first spell overs), he was as lethal as he usually was. I felt like in every single over, he would take a wicket. When Dhawan was at the crease, I felt like Dhawan would be out the very next ball. The same goes with Cheteshwar and Murali. Steyn tried all his items in his arsenal. He tried bouncers, full length, short pitched on the body and some reverse swinging balls. But the Indian batsmen handled him well and that is the reason for him being unsuccessful. Also, Steyn was more successful in Nagpur 2010 test than he is in this pitch. So, I think it is because of the quality of the batting not him being not-lethal is the reason for him not to be unsuccessful. I guess early morning tomorrow he will come back strongly as he usually does.

  • quickbowler on December 26, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    Hi Guys, I am looking forward to AUS VS SA . Both teams got good fast bowlers. On form Aussies are top right now.For SA, Steyn should get wickets otherwise they will loose to AUS. If Australia win again SA, then AuSSie media will on top that Aussies are best test team in the world. As for AS India unless they have very good fast bowlers they will struggle to take 20 wickets against any team out side India.

  • silentstand on December 26, 2013, 23:21 GMT

    It's laughable that people are saying Johnson is better than steyn

  • xtrafalgarx on December 26, 2013, 23:12 GMT

    This is what i was saying before, Steyn has been a good bowler for some time, but when was the last time he took a 5fer? A long, long time ago is the answer.

    The SA team is living off it's own reputation, especially Steyn. He struggled all tour in Australia, was alright against NZ but not amazing and wasn't very impressive in the UAE and has continued it against India.

    People were complaining he is not the world no.1 anymore, but there you have it. He isn't!

  • blink182alex on December 26, 2013, 22:43 GMT

    Steyn is a brilliant bowler no doubt. But i would have to say, and i have thought this for quite a bit, that Ryan Harris is as good as anyone, and with the current way Harris is bowling 145kph +, Harris is the best seamer in the world foe me at the moment. Not quite sure how Philander has the record he has, he wouldn't even get in the Aussie team.

  • on December 26, 2013, 22:20 GMT

    So here we are, one test and one day old. SA, with the claimed number one attack in the world, struggling to take wkts. in their own backyard. Are they bowling poorly. Not in my opinion. They are bowling with fire, venom, and hostility. And sledging when the occasion arises. So what has changed to dry the wickets taking ability of the SA pacers? Well, the fault lies with then Indian batsmen! Unlike their predecessors these young Indian batsmen have honed two essential skills. One, the leave outside the off stump. And two, fearless pulling, hooking, or effortless leave of the short, rising balls. Without the skills to reverse swing the SA pacers have run out of the surprise element. Each of the first six Indian batsmen, on his day, is capable of a double century in a test match. So, it's a formidable batting line-up, perhaps the best on the planet today. Graceful strokes, sound technique, astonishing temperament, mixed with courage and determination are priceless Indian gems!

  • on December 26, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    Give those guys a break, they're too consistent and brilliant. I guess they're not playing enough Tests too, one of the reasons they're not in proper flow. I reckon they'll come back and make their mark.

  • IT13 on December 26, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    South Africa must be kicking itself after the 1st Test Match where they get a great chance to win a test match. Well I guess, Smith and his guys are for going to get a long and hard couple of days by some good Indian batsmen.

  • on December 26, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    @ajmaldominatesswann I agree with u that right now pakistan has the best bowling attack and it was evident from the SA tour where they ran rampage and created a havoc all around the SA batting line up. And believe me I was very happy from deep heart. pakistan is right now producing yhe best and DANGEROUS bowling unit. And i MEAN every word of it. it was also evident when they toured here in india with young bowlers and facing critcism but went to BEAT the no. 1 ODI team. yeah it was upsetting for us but also happy that our counterpart are our great critics. Steyn is undoubtedly no.2 bowler but he has rather a very litter reverse and can easily be beaten if one understands his mindsets. vernon on the other hand has yet to prove in sub-continents. so cant really say he is the best. Morne is the only(after kallis retirement) bowler SA can be proud of!!forget the spinners they have !! horrible. they can't take wickets and can't even stop the flow of runs as is evident from the series!!

  • on December 26, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    @mahesh h panikar you ought to understand that SA does not have any good spinners at all!!! THEY JUST LOST their BEST !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on December 26, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    you better stop playing when u complain inspite of having all home advantages!!! SA advantages--playing in their own backyard.--boasts of n.1 and no.2 bowler--has no.1 and no.2 basman--know the pitch bettre than any1 else. so stop bashing the curators!!! we were rarely given practise time and still in match with these experienced sides!! some other guy said that india had ample tme bcoz we had played against australia in inda !! tell that fool its SA not idia. these guys hve no sense of cricket

  • kalyanbk on December 26, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    Somewhere down the line we need to appreciate that Vijay has demonstrated tremendous homework, discipline and patience to blunt Steyn. I saw the match live and while Steyn took a few overs to warm up he was soon hitting 145kmph consistently and hit Vijay on his elbow. The last few overs of his first spell was fantastic test match cricket. Let us appreciate that these cricketers are trying their best.

  • hrmalladi on December 26, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    Indian top order batsmen have effectively blunted Dale Steyn. In the first test on the first morning Dale Steyn bowled 5 over one maiden and one wicket for 10 runs. and then till the end of the 1st day of the 2nd test Dale Steyn bowled 402 Balls (67 overs) 17 maidens, 204 runs and Zero wickets. They took 29 fours till now with out giving him their wickets. Good Job India!

  • BounceTrack_BULLY on December 26, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    Steyn is a very good bowler. But Indians outplayed him.

  • drnaveed on December 26, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    where is the form of ex- ranked number 1 bowler , and currently ranked number 2 bowler in the world's form gone with the ball ???? . mind you ,he is bowling on the SA pitches and not the sub-continent pitches. perhaps , this is because there is no muhammad hafeez at the batting end to bowl at. steyn used to celebrate every time after getting the wicket of muhammad hafeez , as if he was the best batsman of the world, well , he might be , with his current batting form. look at zaheer khan ,he too has taken the scalp of graeme smith a number of times , but he doesn't act silly like steyn.

  • on December 26, 2013, 20:53 GMT

    @ajmaldominatesswann I agree with u that right now pakistan has the best bowling attack and it was evident from the SA tour where they ran rampage and created a havoc all around the SA batting line up. And believe me I was very happy from deep heart. pakistan is right now producing yhe best and DANGEROUS bowling unit. And i MEAN every word of it. it was also evident when they toured here in india with young bowlers and facing critcism but went to BEAT the no. 1 ODI team. yeah it was upsetting for us but also happy that our counterpart are our great critics. Steyn is undoubtedly no.2 bowler but he has rather a very litter reverse and can easily be beaten if one understands his mindsets. vernon on the other hand has yet to prove in sub-continents. so cant really say he is the best. Morne is the only(after kallis retirement) bowler SA can be proud of!!forget the spinners they have !! horrible. they can't take wickets and can't even stop the flow of runs as is evident from the series!!

  • vik56in on December 26, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    @saransrk Just 1 test and already passing opinions about Steyn.He is better than than Anderson by a mile and the best fast bowler of his generation.Steyn's avg is 24 and Andoerson's is 30.So it is really foolish to compare Steyn with Anderson

  • dabbadubba on December 26, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    Wow..so much talk of surface.. Are the worlds No 1 and No 2 bowler good only on green surfaces ? Is that how South Africas rise to No 1 position has happened ? Its become fashionable to downplay the indian players grit and determination to win on any surface. If they do well.. then its a subcontinent surface. ! Well if everyone is blaming the surface for south africas shortcomings in this series, then i guess steyn and philander are no good than ashwin who fires only on helpful surfaces.

  • Fullcover on December 26, 2013, 20:05 GMT

    With this bowling, I don't see SA beating AU later next year.

  • Harmony111 on December 26, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    @ajmaldomintesswann:

    Man your username here takes a while to get decoded but it is kind of true actually. Jaadugar over Swann anyday.

    Reg your comment, I am an Ind but I think Zaheer is some way behind others in this list. He gets ample reverse swing but is not lethal with it.

    Reg Steyn, make no mistake. He has demolished Aus/Eng/Pak/SL/Ind in the past. This time he is struggling cos India are playing him well. This is not about flat wickets or being out of form or lacking any skill. Steyn has simply been out-thought here. He has tried all he has. Full length, Bouncers, Full pace, Round the wicket on the body, Reverse swing - everything but he has nada to show for it.

    To me it is surprising that SA are crying about a flat wicket. Its not that this is a SC like flat wicket, it is just flatter than the usual SA wickets, just that.

    What is the point of being #1 or being Steyn or being the greatest AR if you can't adjust, esp when bowling to FTBs of 20 test exp???

  • Anubhav-the-Experience on December 26, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    Steyn and Morkel are good but you cannot beat the Mc grath - Warne- era...they were simply outstanding.... With Rain or conditions not intervening any more I am pretty sure, SA is gonna have tough time...they do not know what's coming....jadeja might murder them and they do not know it yet!

  • CricketFanInCA on December 26, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Steyn and Philander are bowling good as always and bowling way better than Indian fast(medium) bowlers. But the quality of Indian batting attack is getting better and better. Steyn prove himself in most countries. But people criticizing Steyn for not playing good in SA... that is funny. SA bowling is way better than India but Indian batting is the best in world.

  • on December 26, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    I've been reading suggestions from many that South Africa should use JP Duminy as the led spinner and go in with an all pace attack. I think going in without a frontline spinner on most track is a bad idea. There are strong reasons for that, and a very simple one is maintaining the overrate. Even with Robin Peterson introduced relatively early into the attack, SA managed 26 overs in the first session and 27 in the 2nd. If Tahir and Peterson aren't doing the job, then SA should look to Simon Harmer or someone else, but they need a frontline spinner, and JP Duminy is not that, not at all really.

  • sarangsrk on December 26, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    @ajmaldomintesswann.. Completely agree with you on the point that Steyn is not the best fast bowler in the world. It is not just based on this series but because he doesn't possess in-swinger or penetrating reverse swing. Anderson, in full form, is way more skillful. Other point is why is SA, no.1 test side, pacers are cribbing about a dry pitch? When India toured NZ in 2003, NZ prepared green tracks and both teams got out for 100 odd in tests and ODIs. Fleming commented that if India boasts of best batting line up, they should be able to bat anywhere. Same logic goes for SA pace attack. Green track bullies, are they?

  • Captainman on December 26, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    lol Steyn has never been that quick in the first place. Mitchell Johnson is a proper fast bowler and Steyn is quick but not in quick range speed of 145+ consistently.

  • niazbhi on December 26, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    SA has to introduce Abbott and gqamane slowly. There is much to gain by introducing those pacers than keeping RJ (Duminy can contain, Morkel/Philander have great economy rate).

  • TheOldAnalyst on December 26, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    If your team possess No1 and No2 bowlers and they start complain about lack of assistance from the surface,are they just one trick ponies ? I agree with comments by despy1989 and I would agree with ajmaldomintesswann to some extent, though I doubt if the Pakistani bowlers could be consistent enough all the time..But I do have questions for Philander (I have not seen him bowl elsewhere) and off late Steyn.

  • on December 26, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    If SA did have a world class spinner who could atleast keep it economical, they would have a bowling attack that would dominate the world, pacy pitches or no.

  • despy1989 on December 26, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    Its not that Steyn has lost his mojo suddenly or gone wicketless because he has bowled poorly. The Indian top order (Vijay, Pujara, Kohli) have batted exceptionally well against him for long hours. Very happy to see that the young guns have been so disciplined that the world's best bowling attack including Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Kallis looks incapable of getting the 20 wickets needed to win on their own backyard. If the Indians bat like they have today then its going to be the SA batting under pressure again as they were in the first test..game on!!!

  • ajmaldomintesswann on December 26, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    Thats why pakistan bowling attack is number 1 overall because they have bowlers for all conditions.Junaid is unarguably number 1 young fast bowler and he is heading towards wasim akram glory.Gul is reverse swing master.And magician is well a magician.He can spin the ball even on glass.Number 2 and 3 attacks are Australia and africa because lyon is growing in stature more than peterson or imran tahir.

  • ajmaldomintesswann on December 26, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Though steyn is very good bowler,he lacks the mastery which great bowlers possess.he has no inswingers and so no no reverse swing factor..to me,anderson and junaid khan are top bowlers if we put mastery factor at test level.and harris too.Gul,zaheer khan are at the same level as reverse swing matters

  • ajmaldomintesswann on December 26, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Though steyn is very good bowler,he lacks the mastery which great bowlers possess.he has no inswingers and so no no reverse swing factor..to me,anderson and junaid khan are top bowlers if we put mastery factor at test level.and harris too.Gul,zaheer khan are at the same level as reverse swing matters

  • ajmaldomintesswann on December 26, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    Thats why pakistan bowling attack is number 1 overall because they have bowlers for all conditions.Junaid is unarguably number 1 young fast bowler and he is heading towards wasim akram glory.Gul is reverse swing master.And magician is well a magician.He can spin the ball even on glass.Number 2 and 3 attacks are Australia and africa because lyon is growing in stature more than peterson or imran tahir.

  • despy1989 on December 26, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    Its not that Steyn has lost his mojo suddenly or gone wicketless because he has bowled poorly. The Indian top order (Vijay, Pujara, Kohli) have batted exceptionally well against him for long hours. Very happy to see that the young guns have been so disciplined that the world's best bowling attack including Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Kallis looks incapable of getting the 20 wickets needed to win on their own backyard. If the Indians bat like they have today then its going to be the SA batting under pressure again as they were in the first test..game on!!!

  • on December 26, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    If SA did have a world class spinner who could atleast keep it economical, they would have a bowling attack that would dominate the world, pacy pitches or no.

  • TheOldAnalyst on December 26, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    If your team possess No1 and No2 bowlers and they start complain about lack of assistance from the surface,are they just one trick ponies ? I agree with comments by despy1989 and I would agree with ajmaldomintesswann to some extent, though I doubt if the Pakistani bowlers could be consistent enough all the time..But I do have questions for Philander (I have not seen him bowl elsewhere) and off late Steyn.

  • niazbhi on December 26, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    SA has to introduce Abbott and gqamane slowly. There is much to gain by introducing those pacers than keeping RJ (Duminy can contain, Morkel/Philander have great economy rate).

  • Captainman on December 26, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    lol Steyn has never been that quick in the first place. Mitchell Johnson is a proper fast bowler and Steyn is quick but not in quick range speed of 145+ consistently.

  • sarangsrk on December 26, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    @ajmaldomintesswann.. Completely agree with you on the point that Steyn is not the best fast bowler in the world. It is not just based on this series but because he doesn't possess in-swinger or penetrating reverse swing. Anderson, in full form, is way more skillful. Other point is why is SA, no.1 test side, pacers are cribbing about a dry pitch? When India toured NZ in 2003, NZ prepared green tracks and both teams got out for 100 odd in tests and ODIs. Fleming commented that if India boasts of best batting line up, they should be able to bat anywhere. Same logic goes for SA pace attack. Green track bullies, are they?

  • on December 26, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    I've been reading suggestions from many that South Africa should use JP Duminy as the led spinner and go in with an all pace attack. I think going in without a frontline spinner on most track is a bad idea. There are strong reasons for that, and a very simple one is maintaining the overrate. Even with Robin Peterson introduced relatively early into the attack, SA managed 26 overs in the first session and 27 in the 2nd. If Tahir and Peterson aren't doing the job, then SA should look to Simon Harmer or someone else, but they need a frontline spinner, and JP Duminy is not that, not at all really.

  • CricketFanInCA on December 26, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Steyn and Philander are bowling good as always and bowling way better than Indian fast(medium) bowlers. But the quality of Indian batting attack is getting better and better. Steyn prove himself in most countries. But people criticizing Steyn for not playing good in SA... that is funny. SA bowling is way better than India but Indian batting is the best in world.