Recognised as one of the complete fast-bowlers of all-time, Dale Steyn was undoubtedly the greatest fast bowler of his time. Known for his pace and accuracy, Steyn was unplayable at his peak. He was highly effective with the red ball and could make the ball talk even at his lethal pace. Ask Michael Vaughan, one of Steyn's first few victims out of his 439 Test scalps, on how the 21-year old youngster then rattled the England skipper on his debut appearance.
With over 200 appearances for South Africa, Dale Steyn has picked 635 international wickets in a span of over 15 years. Here, we take a look at Dale Steyn's five best Test bowling spells that he ever bowled for South Africa:
5. 5/47 vs New Zealand (Centurion, 2006)
Only in his fourth Test match for South Africa, Dale Steyn bagged his maiden fifer against New Zealand at Centurion in 2006. Despite being smacked to all parts of the ground in the first innings, Steyn returned in the second innings to pick his first five-wicket haul for South Africa. He was the pick of the bowlers and played a key role in bundling out the opposition for a paltry score of 120 runs in the last innings.
4. 5/23 vs India (Ahmedabad, 2008)
Playing in sub-continent conditions os one of the toughest jobs for a fast bowler. In conditions that are as conducive for spin bowling, Steyn was one of the rare bowlers who could create an impact even in the sub-continent. In the 2008 Test series against India, Steyn wreaked havoc in the second Test match against India at Ahmedabad. The speedster was effective in bowling out the hosts for a score of 76 in their first innings. He was the pick of the bowlers claiming five wickets in the innings. His fearsome bowling spell guided South Africa to a Test victory on the Indian soil.
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3. 6/8 vs Pakistan (Johannesburg, 2013)
In the first Test of the three-match home series against Pakistan at Johannesburg, Pakistan was skittled to their lowest ever Test total in 2013. The ‘Men in Green' were bowled out for a score of 49 in just 29 overs, courtesy of an exhibition of swing bowling by Proteas' premier pacer Dale Steyn. The batters had no answers to Steyn's fiery spell of bowling as the bowler ran through the Pakistani line-up with another six wicket-haul in his bag. South Africa won by 211 runs and Steyn was fittingly awarded the Man of the Match.
2. 5/67 vs Australia (Melbourne, 2008)
In the Boxing Day Test against Australia at Melbourne, South Africa secured a win to claim a series win in the second Test itself. Yet again, Dale Steyn was at the heart of things for the visitors as someone who inflicted the greatest damage to Australia. The right-arm bowler managed to grab 10 wickets in the entire match with a five-wicket haul each in both the innings of the Test match. He picked 5/87 in the first innings while pegged the hosts with another great spell of fast bowling in the second innings. Eventually, South Africa chased an easy target by nine wickets.
Watch Dale Steyn spell of 7/51 vs India here
1. 7/51 vs India (Nagpur, 2010)
While South Africa never lost a Test series in India in the 2000s, Dale Steyn was one of the primary reasons for such a distinction for the Proteas. On the tour of India in 2010, South Africa secured victory in the Nagpur Test while Steyn was yet again among the wickets. He bagged his best bowling figures in Test cricket against India. In India's first innings, Steyn produced a magical spell of reverse-swing bowling to push the hosts on the backfoot. He returned with figures of 7/51 and played a vital role in paving a South African win in the Test match.