Cape Town – Just one wicket at the WACA over the next few
days will guarantee Dale Steyn entry into the exclusive “top ten club” for most
Test scalps of all time … and six would make him South Africa’s leading wicket-taker.
Those are two major achievements for the Phalaborwa Express
to target in the first Test against Australia from Thursday (04:30 start, SA
The 33-year-old Steyn currently boasts 416 Test victims and
lies 11th on the all-time list, just one wicket behind Indian off-spin
icon Harbhajan Singh – he played his last Test in 2015 -- in 10th.
But by picking up one wicket at the WACA, Steyn will
automatically bump out Harbhajan just by drawing level on 417, as he would have
got there in fewer Tests (85 as opposed to 103) and innings (156 against 190).
That would make him the second South African to crack the
elite 10 after Shaun Pollock, presently ninth overall and on 421 wickets.
Speaking of Pollock, the next short-term landmark for Steyn
is just as tantalising: if he manages half a dozen at the WACA (or just beyond
that in the series) he shifts to 422 to become the country’s most prolific
Pollock, who started his illustrious Test career as a pretty
hostile, out-and-out speedster but cleverly adjusted to more of a
line-and-length approach as injuries took a gradual toll, needed 108 Tests to
get to his tally of scalps.
The former national captain will be in Australia for the
imminent series, helping SuperSport and Channel 9 with commentary.
Here are a few other milestones Proteas players may reach
over the course of the three-Test series:
*Dean Elgar (8,948) needs 52 runs to reach 9,000 first-class
*Hashim Amla (7,470) is 30 runs short of reaching 7,500 Test
*Faf du Plessis (1,823, 31 Tests) needs a further 177 runs
to reach 2,000 Test runs
*Temba Bavuma (477, 11 Tests) requires 23 runs to reach 500
*Vernon Philander (130) needs 20 more scalps to reach 150
wickets in Tests; he is also one five-wicket haul shy of achieving 10 in Test
*Kagiso Rabada (96) needs four wickets to move to 100
first-class scalps – he has played 24 first-class games, including eight Tests
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