The first day of the second Test between South Africa and Bangladesh provided a few talking points with the biggest being the role of Dale Steyn and his reaching of the magical 400 Test wicket milestone.
The 31-year-old fast bowler needed a single scalp to join an illustrious list and he obliged when forcing Tamim Iqbal to edge to Hashim Amla at first slip in the fifth over of the day. He would strike twice more during the day with the home side closing on 246/8.
But according to Alan Donald, who spoke of Steyn during a recent interview, the “Phalaborwa Express” will keep blaming through batting lineups in search of 500 Test victims – a mark that the former Proteas bowling coach believes is achievable.
With 402 wickets to his name, Steyn has become the 13th bowler to ever reach the milestone but an added bonus is that he is the quickest ever to get to the mark in terms of balls bowled, he took 16 634 deliveries to get there.
He also became the joint-second quickest by equalling Sir Richard Hadlee in taking 80 Tests to claim 400 scalps as well as being only the second South African to reach the milestone after Shaun Pollock.
While the close of play yesterday may have brought respite from the stifling heat in Mirpur and an opportunity to reflect of the achievement, Steyn is focused on a bigger picture as the Proteas look to protect an unblemished record against the Tigers.
“I’ve never been a stats person. It’s nice to have the numbers but I’ve had a lot better moments in my cricket career. Winning games for my country has always been objective number one. The job is not over
“It’s no different to any of the other ones I’ve taken to be honest with you,” he said of his 400th Test victim, although he did remember in great detail how he got rid of Iqbal.
“Tamim is one of those batsmen who is quite attacking and if you throw it up there he will throw his bat at it. There was a little bit of extra bat and managed to find the edge of the bat, twice actually. Probably just a bad shot really but I’ll take it,” he quipped.
He also downplayed the possibility of moving past Pollock, who claimed 421 scalps, as South Africa’s all-time leading Test wicket taker but knowing how competitive, and destructive, Steyn can be one would think that he’s going to keep firing in delivery after delivery to get there.
He’ll also be helped by a busy Test schedule for the remainder of the year with eight matches divided between a tour of India and a home series against England at the end of the year.
“I want to bowl again the next time South Africa pick me. I’ve got no targets Anything can happen.. I would have been happy just taking one wicket in my international career. I was privileged to play for South Africa and take wickets,” Steyn said.
“I’ve said it many times before but I just love bowling. Just give me the ball and If I’m fit and strong I will bowl the whole day.”