He didn’t want to talk about it in the lead-up to the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan, but Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn must have been only too aware that a place in SA cricket history was beckoning.
And when the 35-year-old bowler enticed batsman Fakhar Zaman into playing at a deceptive delivery in the seventh over of the day yesterday, and Dean Elgar snapped up the catch, he became the country’s highest Test wicket taker. With 422, he eclipsed the legendary Shaun Pollock’s 421 scalps.
Unlike the measured and calm Pollock, though, Steyn wears his heart on his sleeve and was known, especially in his early days after his 2004 Test debut, as a fiery combatant who often left chunks of himself on the pitch after stumps were drawn.
His record is a tribute, both to his raw talent and to his discipline in coming back from a series of potentially career-ending injuries in recent years.
But it was touching to see what was almost the metaphoric passing of the torch to a younger generation when Steyn was hoisted on the shoulders of KG Rabada, a man from the same mould and who, himself, might one day claim the best bowler accolade.