Five times Dale Steyn was unplayable in Test cricket

A prodigious swinger of the ball with one of the smoothest actions you are ever likely to see, Dale Steyn is the kind of player that makes kids want to grow up to be a fast bowler.

Five times Dale Steyn was unplayable in Test cricket

We look back at the exploits of Dale Steyn in the Test arena he dominated after the legend called time on his international career this week.

While Steyn found success late in his career as a T20 bowler, in his prime he was one of the best to ever play Test cricket.

Steyn ascended to the rank of South Africa’s best fast bowler by being a truly all-terrain destroyer. His clever fast bowling on the subcontinent made the Proteas competitive when they had no business being so.

A prodigious swinger of the ball with one of the smoothest actions you are ever likely to see, Steyn is the kind of player that makes kids want to grow up to be a fast bowler, and he has inspired a generation of pacemen not only in South Africa but all over the world.

Here we look at five iconic Test performances from the great man.

Five times Dale Steyn was unplayable

6 for 34 vs West Indies: Centurion, April 2014

South Africa posted a mammoth 552-5 declared and West Indies were under the cosh making just 201 in reply but a frustrated Steyn finished wicketless in the first innings. That didn’t stop him from stamping his mark on the game.

Steyn took 6-34 in a devastating spell in the Windies’ second innings following on to send the visitors to crashing to an innings and 220-run defeat in the first Test of a series they would lose 2-0.

5 for 47 vs New Zealand: Centurion, April 2006

The Proteas had their backs against the wall it in the opening Test against New Zealand at Supersport Park when their first-innings total of 276 was answered with 327 from the Black Caps, Steyn capturing a modest 2-95. 

A total of 299 for the hosts’ second knock set New Zealand 249 to win setting Steyn up to show his ever-blossoming status as a feared seamer. He and Makhaya Ntini each claimed a five-for to bowl the visitors out for 120. It was a crucial turning point as the home side went on to take a 2-0 series triumph.

6 for 8 vs Pakistan: Johannesburg, February 2013

When South Africa spanked Pakistan 3-0 during a three-match series six-and-a-half-years ago, Steyn was influential in wrapping up the opening Test by 211 runs. 

The Phalaborwa Express turned in a remarkable return of 6-8 in the first innings which was the catalyst for Pakistan’s embarrassing total of 49. There was little let-up in Pakistan’s second knock as Steyn made 5-52 in a stunning Test performance.

7 for 51 vs India: Nagpur, February 2010

A seven-wicket haul in Test cricket is nothing to be sniffed but claiming seven in India for a South African quick is simply unheard of, however Steyn was at his devastating best during The Proteas’ opening contest of a three-match series in Nagpur in 2010. 

After Hashim Amla’s 253 and 173 from Jacques Kallis steered the Proteas to 558-6 declared, Steyn ripped through India’s star-studded order to return Test-best figures of 7-51. India, who made just 233 in the first innings, were put back into bat and Steyn celebrated three more wickets to finish with match figures of 10-108. The series would be drawn at 1-1.

5 for 67 vs Australia: Melbourne, December 2008

The Proteas headed headed to the historic MCG in Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test already 1-0 up in the best-of-three contest. 

Five times Dale Steyn was unplayable

Led by Graeme Smith, the Proteas secured a nine-wicket hammering to clinch the series with Steyn at the fore. He claimed a five-for in both innings and contributed 76 with the bat to help South Africa to a 65-run first-innings lead that set the foundations for victory.

While Nagpur probably saw Steyn bowl his best, Melbourne witness and all-around triumph that encompasses everything you need to know about one of South African cricket’s most beloved sons.