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29 Mar 2008 16:57
South African pace spearhead Dale Steyn showed he was a quick learner by leading a fightback against India in the first Test on Saturday.
The 24-year-old Steyn grabbed four of the last five wickets to restrict India’s first-innings lead to 87 after opener Virender Sehwag notched up an Indian Test best of 319 on the fourth day.
India were all out for 627 before South Africa reached 131 for one in their second innings at stumps to lead by 44 runs, making sure they would not lose on the final day on Sunday.
Steyn was man of the series in the last three series wins but had failed to strike until he produced his haul within 21 deliveries in a fine display of reverse swing.
“It’s difficult bowling here,” he said. “One thing is the pitch doesn’t assist you much and we are not used to the balls we use here.
It gets scuffed up pretty quickly due to the pitch.
“So it is a whole new experience,” he said.
“It is great coming off the field after taking a couple of wickets,” he said. “It shows you that in conditions like this you have got to be able to put in the hard yards to get wickets.
“At one stage I bowled close to 27 overs and I hadn’t taken a wicket yet and then in my last couple of overs I picked up four.”
Steyn came into his own after the seasoned Makhaya Ntini took three wickets. Left-arm spinner Paul Harris took the other three.
“The key is to find out what works,” Steyn said. “Reverse swing is a big factor in the sub-continent. We were lucky to get a ball change and the new ball that we got was reversing from ball one basically.”
The second Test will be played in Ahmedabad from Thursday.- Reuters
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