Struggling Steyn to 'make or break' Oz Tests

Dale Steyn (Gallo Images)
Dale Steyn (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - He got through four of the five ODIs against Australia unscathed ... and that is perhaps the most pleasing aspect of Dale Steyn's showing in the now completed series which saw the Proteas claim a 5-0 whitewash. 

Steyn was far from his best, claiming just five wickets in the series at an average of 50.8 and at a run rate of 6.99. 

Fellow speedster Kagiso Rabada fared even worse, also playing four games, also taking five wickets, but at 52.8 and at 7.33 per over. 

It will be pleasing for the Proteas that they were undefeated with their two front-line bowlers nowhere near their best, but there may be some concerns over the form of Steyn and Rabada heading into next month's Test series in Australia. 

But captain Faf du Plessis has no concerns over Steyn, saying that he is a different player entirely in Test match cricket. 

"Dale in Test cricket is just a different breed," Du Plessis said.

"In Test cricket it is about consistency and making sure you can bowl an area for a long period of time so when Dale gets that red ball in his hand he is just a different bowler.

"He's still our number one bowler in Test cricket and for us to have a successful tour of Australia Dale Steyn will be the guy to make or break that for us.

"I'm confident that he will have a really good series."

Du Plessis added that Steyn's shoulder was the main concern, but that at the moment it looked "okay". 

"That's going to be the challenge ... to make sure that he stays fit and can bowl long periods," said Du Plessis.

Australian all-rounder Dave Warner, who finished as the top scorer in the series, squashed any thoughts that Steyn was not as dangerous as he has been in previous years.

"You've always got to respect Dale," said Warner, who smashed 173 runs on Wednesday.

"He's a world class bowler and a great athlete. He always charges in and you just never want to upset him.

"That's something I learnt fast when I first made my international debut ... he's a guy that can really get on top.

"He just has this spark in him and this spell in him ... you've just got to get through that and work hard on trying to negate what he throws at you."

The first Test takes place on November 3 at the WACA. 

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