‘Today belonged to us’

2013-12-28 00:00

BOXING Day’s early end to day one of the second Test against India at Kingsmead played right into Dale Steyn’s hands. With the pitch under the covers for nearly a day, it sweated, meaning there was some moisture for Steyn to exploit, which he did at India’s peril.

“There was something in the pitch for the first hour, hour-and-a-half yesterday, which enabled us to have a go at the batsmen after a rather quiet first day,” he said. “When we took the second new ball after 80 overs, I felt the pitch had settled and was playing good and true again.”

With the moisture having been soaked up by the bright sunlight, Steyn admitted he had to dig deep, work hard and pray for some luck to enable the Proteas to get a breakthrough and stamp their authority on the game.

He put all three ingredients in the bag and produced the goods in an inspiring spell that rewarded him with six wickets for 100 runs. “We needed something to happen and we had to work hard for it,” he said.

“The luck came with two of the wickets being batsmen snaffled down the legside by the keeper, something that does not happen often in Test cricket. We knew then that today would belong to us.”

Steyn added that the Proteas had discussed beforehand that bowling at Kingsmead would not be easy and the Proteas needed to keep their foot on the pedal. “Day one saw nothing go our way, but we had to believe and know that we would get the breaks we needed, with plenty of hard work thrown in,” he said. “That has happened and we are definitely, as a team, going for a result in the match, as much for Jacques [Kallis] as for the team.

“We don’t want Jacques’s final Test to fizzle out in a draw.”

Afer an indifferent performance at the Wanderers where he only took a single wicket, Steyn said he had put that behind him and rated yesterday’s wicket haul as one of his better ones. “I definitely came through better yesterday and today. Day three is key for us. It’s a big day where we can dictate the course and possible outcome of the match.”

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