Sri Lanka in SA
Steyn keen to unsettle Lankans
Dale Steyn (Gallo Images)
Pretoria - Pace bowler Dale Steyn and the rest of South Africa's seamers hope to make life difficult out in the middle for the Sri Lankan batsmen in the first of three Tests starting in Centurion on Thursday.
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"With our bowlers bowling to their batsmen, who grow up in sub-continent conditions where the ball is hitting the bat from the stickers down, we want the ball to hit the bat in areas where they are unfamiliar," Steyn said on Tuesday.
"A bit higher and maybe make it most uncomfortable for them."
With four other seamers in the Protea squad - Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Jacques Kallis and uncapped 21-year-old Marchant de Lange - Steyn said his role in the team had not changed.
He would still be expected to spearhead the attack, relying on his pace.
"I don't think my role has changed at all. I still go there and run in and try and strike," Steyn said.
"Vernon is the type of bowler who is fantastic at sharing the new ball.
"We basically call him 'Vernon McGrath' now because he bowls the ball all over the place, which just kind of nibbles around, so it is nice to share the ball with someone like him.
"When one of us gets taken off by the captain, the next guy is Morne Morkel who has got thunder bolts from 10 foot, or Kallis who has been revving it up to 140km an hour in the domestic games recently."
Sri Lanka have not toured South Africa in nine years, and while the Proteas have little knowledge of their opponents, Steyn believed the visitors would be a tough nut to crack.
Much like the Australians, who toured South Africa last month, Steyn said the Sri Lankans would boast variety in their attack.
"When we played Australia, you had a guy like Shane Watson who ran in and put the ball in an area and made it really difficult," Steyn said.
"He wasn't nearly bowling in the same places as Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle.
"We've really got to be wary of Sri Lanka's players."
The top-ranked Test bowler in the world, Steyn believed he had improved even further since Australia's tour when he bagged 11 wickets in two Tests at an average of 21.81.
Turning out for the Cobras at the back end of the 1-Day Cup, the speedster bagged four scalps in two games to help the Cobras lift the domestic title.
"I would say that in the last two domestic games I probably bowled the quickest I have all season so far, which is quite nice," he said.
"I guess I am one of those guys that when I have a long break it is kind of bad for me. I've just got to keep going."
Sri Lanka's vice-captain, Angelo Mathews, said the tourists expected a serious threat from the SA bowlers on quicker wickets than they were used to back home.
"I think playing in the sub-continent the wickets are quite slow, and I think the main thing is we need to adjust to the bounce of the wickets in South Africa, and the pace," Mathews said.
"So if we can cope with that we should be able to perform well."