Dale Steyn believes the Proteas have the ideal bowling combination, which has set up a likely victory over New Zealand in the second Test, at Centurion.
After a day in which 13 wickets fell, as they bowled out New Zealand for 214, Steyn says off-spinner Dane Piedt will come to the fore as the three quicks, in contrasting styles, will keep the visitors under pressure.
‘The key is to find the opportunity where the three quicks can operate at their best all of the time, so the spinner will have to come into play in the fourth innings,’ he said. ‘We saw a little bit of turn and bounce for Dane so hopefully in the fourth innings there will be a lot more on offer for him.’
The veteran leader says the Proteas have an excellent combination of pace, and Vernon Philander’s nagging accuracy was missed against England, when the Proteas went down 2-1.
‘Vernon keeps it so tight, he is really good. It is probably something that we lacked when we played against England,’ said Steyn.
‘He is the kind of bowler that doesn’t give you anything, he goes nowhere. To be able to bowl with him always feels free, you feel like you can run in and do what you want to do because you know at the other end he is going to tick over at two runs an over to be safe, and he can still knock guys over when he hits the cracks, he is so skilled.
‘Then you have KG [Rabada] who is bowling at 150 km/h; he is hitting the deck and he is getting wickets at a phenomenal strike rate. It’s a great partnership at the moment between the three quicks.’
Eight of the Kiwis’ wickets fell to pace on a rapidly deteriorating surface. That gave the Proteas a lead of 267. Their hopes of quick runs to boost the total was cooled by the fire of the New Zealand attack, which reduced them to 105-6 at the close, a lead of 372. But that only served to whet the appetite of the Proteas bowlers.
Steyn said the decision not to enforce the follow-on would help the pace bowlers recover from an arduous day in the field.
‘We will probably do the bulk of the bowling so it was probably a good idea to give the guys’ legs, even if it’s just the evening, a little bit of a rest and then go again,’ he added.
‘If we can bat until lunch time, who knows? We will give ourselves enough time to bowl them out but he longer we hang out there, the longer the sun bakes on the wicket and the wider the cracks get. It’s going to be more difficult to bat.’
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