Dale Steyn’s top ten: Blasting out Vaughan, fishing out Tendulkar

Steyn’s dismissal of Fakhar Zaman in his 89th Test took his wicket tally to 422 and moved him past Shaun Pollock, who took 108 Tests to take 421. During the long, injury-ridden wait for Steyn’s final few wickets to break the record, team-mate and close friend Hashim Amla said the achievement would be “very special to all of us”, and would put Steyn in the “top ten or maybe even top five greatest bowlers of all time.”

ESPNcricinfo picks out ten of Steyn’s most memorable dismissals along the way.

Michael Vaughan, Port Elizabeth, 2004

With just seven first-class matches to his name, of which only five were played at franchise level, nobody really knew what to expect from Dale Steyn until this ball. South Africa were defending a measly 142 when Steyn removed Michael Vaughan with a legcutter that beat the outside edge and knocked back his off stump. The chainsaw celebration, which has become his trademark, was brought out for the first time that day. England teetered on 50 for 3 but no further damage was done and they won by seven wickets.

Younis Khan, Karachi, 2007

Even in the early stages of his career, Steyn had success on the subcontinent. In what now stands as Pakistan’s penultimate Test series at their real home, Steyn bowled South Africa to a series lead with a five-for in the second innings. The wicket that mattered was Younis’. Pakistan needed to bat out the final day to avoid defeat and with Younis resuming on 93, it looked like they would. Younis was on 126 when Steyn found reverse-swing. Younis played down the wrong line, the ball kept low, and he was bowled. The next five wickets fell for 66 runs.

Rahul Dravid, Ahmedabad, 2008

After a drawn first Test in Chennai, India chose to bat first but were made to rue their decision by a display of seam movement that left them exposed. After Wasim Jaffer and Virender Sehwag were dismissed cheaply, Steyn took out the big fish. He pitched one on off stump, and got it to straighten, Dravid looked to drive straight and missed and the ball kissed the top of off stump. India were 53 for 3, bowled out for 76, and Steyn finished with 5 for 23. South Africa went on to win by an innings and 90 runs.

Peter Siddle, Melbourne, 2008

South Africa were starting to sense a series win after taking a first-innings lead of 65 and reducing Australia to 165 for 6. The tail staged some resistance but Steyn kept things under control and ended Australia’s innings on 247 with his 150th Test wicket. An offcutter on a shorter length had Siddle caught behind and gave Steyn his 10th wicket in the Test to go with his highest score – 76. South Africa needed 183 to win the series and got there with only one man dismissed.

Sachin Tendulkar, Nagpur, 2010

Steyn had already made a statement on South Africa’s previous India tour and he made an even louder one in Nagpur. After the batsmen piled on 558, Steyn found swing. After making M Vijay dance with deliveries that went away and then came back in, he curved one out of Sachin Tendulkar’s reach, but only just. Tendulkar was playing for away movement but the ball moved a little more than expected and took the outside edge on its way to Mark Boucher. India were 56 for 3 and, after Steyn also found reverse-swing, were bowled out for 233. That performance earned him ESPNcricinfo’s Test performance of the year.

Michael Clarke, Perth, 2012

Steyn had got the better of Michael Clarke during South Africa’s 2008-09 tour of Australia, and four years later returned to target him as captain of the opposition side. Along with Vernon Philander, he reduced Australia to 43 for 5 before Steyn squared Clarke up with the delivery of the series. It pitched on middle and off and moved away, Clarke did not cover the line and the outside edge was comfortably collected by AB de Villiers. South Africa had scored just 225 in their first innings but Steyn ensured they still earned a first-innings lead of 62 with his 4 for 40. A much stronger second innings secured victory by 209 runs and South Africa claimed a second successive series triumph in Australia.

Misbah-ul-Haq, Johannesburg, 2013

Pakistan had been bowled out for 49 in the first innings and were set a target of 480 so victory was improbable but Misbah was leading them to some sort of respectability. They were 210 for 5 when Steyn presented him with a back of a length delivery that moved away, Misbah tried to block but got a thin edge through to de Villiers. South Africa won by 211 runs.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Durban, 2013

Things were not going South Africa’s way in Jacques Kallis’ farewell Test with India on top at 198 for 1 when Steyn was brought back for a spell with the old ball. He peppered Cheteshwar Pujara with short balls and got him stuck in the crease before firing in a 140kph full delivery that forced Pujara to move forward and drive. His footwork was not quite quick enough and he pushed tentatively, to get an edge through to de Villiers. Steyn went on to dismiss M Vijay and Rohit Sharma off successive deliveries in his next over and cleaned up the tail to finish with 6 for 100. South Africa won the match and wrapped up the two-match series 1-0.

Brad Haddin, Port Elizabeth, 2014

After South Africa lost the first Test at SuperSport Park, they needed a win at St George’s to stay in the series. Late on the fourth afternoon, with storm clouds brewing and the fifth day in danger of being washed out, South Africa needed to bowl Australia out. Enter Steyn. The ball was reversing late and he had already used the late movement to bowl Brad Haddin in the first innings so he did it again. He did not know much about the delivery that beat the inside edge except that it flattened middle stump. Steyn took 4 for 55 and put South Africa on level terms.

Mahela Jayawardene, Galle, 2014

South Africa’s first tour sans Graeme Smith in a decade was to a place they had not won a series in in more than 20 years, Sri Lanka, but they showed good intent when they declared on 455 for 9 and better intent with ball in hand. On an abrasive surface that has usually served only to thwart quicks, Steyn broke through Jayawardene’s defences with an almost yorker-length ball that beat him as he tried to clip through midwicket. At first look, Jayawardene seemed plumb lbw, and he reviewed the decision unsuccessfully. South Africa won by 153 runs.

Source: ESPN Cricinfo