Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Dale Steyn is back!

Dale Steyn made such a spectacular return to Test cricket in the home Test series against New Zealand, that he made the other bowlers look mediocre. While Quinton de Kock won man of the match for his runs on a difficult pitch in the second Test, Steyn took a five wicket-haul and returned figures of eight wickets for 99 run in the match, and 10 wickets for 102 runs across the series. The 'Steyn Remover' has passed famous Pakistan bowler Wasim Akram in Test wickets, and with 416 Test scalps, Steyn's only compatriot with more Test wickets is Shaun Pollock (421).

Guess who is back to taking wickets and winning matches for South Africa. Photo from From www.commons.wikimedia.org.

I previously blogged that Kagiso Rabida would be the deciding factor in the series. Little did I know that Steyn would be back to his amazing self, and Vernon Philander would, in his return Test, heap huge pressure on the other end to force batsmen to play against Steyn. From a bowling perspective, it was beautiful. Our first batting innings in the second Test was excellent, especially when you consider that New Zealand won the toss and sent us into bat. The first five batsmen all scored at least half centuries, including a fantastic hundred by Faf du Plessis. The pitch deteriorated quickly near the end of the first day, which goes to show how impressive and important the innings was.

There are so many positives South Africa can take from this series, being their first series this cricket season, and playing against New Zealand who walked over Zimbabwe just before it. Next up is an One Day International against Ireland in Benoni on 25 September, and then a five-match ODI series against Australia, starting in Centurion on 30 September.

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