Steyn backs 'hot' Proteas quicks over spin at Newlands

2019-01-04 09:55
Dale Steyn (Gallo)
Dale Steyn (Gallo)

Cape Town - Eyebrows were raised when skipper Faf du Plessis announced at the toss that the Proteas would be going into the second Test against Pakistan at Newlands without a specialist spinner. 

It left Keshav Maharaj carrying the drinks while Vernon Philander returned to complete a four-pronged seam attack alongside Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier. 

Winning the toss and electing to bowl first, Du Plessis and the Proteas took just two sessions to justify that decision. 

Pakistan were all out for 177 with Olivier (4/48) the chief destroyer once more while Steyn (3/48), Rabada (2/35) and Philander (1/36) all chipped in as the hosts took control of the Test match. 

Once again, it was the short ball that the Pakistan batsmen struggled with most, though conditions in the opening session made surviving extremely difficult. 

That is what playing Test cricket in South Africa is all about these days, and any side that travels to these parts does so in the knowledge that conditions will be tailor-made for the seamers. 

Conditions aside, it is difficult to identify a better seam attack in Test cricket right now, and that is precisely why Steyn feels that it is the right call to go in without a spinner. 

"The last couple of Test matches that we have played haven't really gone further than 60 overs," Steyn said after day one at Newlands on Thursday.

"You're not really utilising that part (spinners). I back it.

"I thought it was pretty hard work with three seamers up at SuperSport Park (for the first Test) and Kesh didn't really have to bowl a lot because we were taking all of the wickets with the seamers.

"I think four seamers is the way to go. The talk of the trip will be our fast bowlers so it's best to use them all and use them wisely."

This is Steyn's 90th Test match for the Proteas since making his debut all the way back in 2004, but even at the age of 35 he still finds excitement in the attack the Proteas are fielding currently. 

"It's got everything. You've got KG (Rabada) who has pace and is just a fantastic bowler, you've got Vernon who has incredible skill and is just relentless and you've got Doozle (Olivier) who is just hot at the moment," Steyn said.

"I'm sure you could give him (Olivier) a beach ball right now and he'd probably nick someone off.

"He's just on it and when things are going like that for you, you just roll with it.

"I've played a fair amount of cricket myself and I guess I bring some calm and composure among the guys.

"All in all, what a phenomenal bowling attack? What more do you want?"

While his return on Thursday was impressive, Steyn finds himself in the unfamiliar position of not being South Africa's main attacking threat right now. 

That has a lot to do with Olivier's form and the fact that, in Rabada, the Proteas boast the No 1 ranked bowler in Test cricket.  

"There are only 10 wickets to take and when Doozle takes 6 or 5 of them, then there's not many left for the rest of us," Steyn said.

"It's running for this bowling line-up right now and as long as we're taking 20 wickets in a Test match then I'm not really too bothered."

Read more on:    proteas  |  dale steyn  |  cape town  |  cricket


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