Best and worst of days for England’s Bell and Proteas’ Steyn at Kingsmead yesterday

2009-12-30 00:00

IT was a case of contrasting fortunes for former Warwickshire colleagues Ian Bell and Dale Steyn at Kingsmead yesterday.

Bell described scoring 141 and then capturing six South African wickets as “the best day he could remember in an England shirt”.

For South Africa’s spearhead, however, the capitulation was simply “the worst day of my whole career”.

So yawning was the gap in success yesterday that Bell and his team-mates already have one eye on the next Test in Cape Town.

“It would give us a lot of momentum being one up with two Tests to go, but we have to go out and finish the job off [today] first,” Bell reflected.

In the most fluent of high-pressure knocks, the England number six resurrected his chequered Test career with a classy 141, and he was under no illusions about its importance.

“Yeah, I think it probably was career-saving.

“After Centurion, a lot was said about possibly going with an extra bowler and me sitting out, so I really needed that score to justify my spot. I really needed that.”

Bell’s frank assessment was followed by a description of the dark places he found himself this year.

“It’s been a tough 12 months, very tough. I have been dropped and gone back to county cricket. All those thoughts hit me when I reached three figures, and I was just very pleased to get over the line.”

He expressed surprise at the Proteas’ disastrous afternoon as they folded to 50 for six at one stage.

“It was a bit surreal, but Graeme Swann always seems to make things happen when he comes on.

“And then Broady [Stuart Broad] came and asked a lot of questions of some quality players.”

While Bell celebrated, Steyn described his shower moment to counter that of Swann on the second day

“I had just got out of the shower after that marathon bowling spell, and suddenly I had to put the pads on!”

Steyn said that though the hole was deep, the home outfit would remind themselves of previous trenches that they had recovered from.

“Ja, I will be definitely watching tapes from the Melbourne Test and we will be reminding each other that we can still fight,” he added, with no lack of conviction.

“We will probably need a bit of bad weather, but you just never know in this game,” added Steyn.

“Cricket is a funny old game.”

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