Injured Dale Steyn may miss rest of Test series

Tricia Pearson
January 7, 2018

He recently made a comeback in competitive cricket and Cricket South Africa (CSA) did not play him during the four-day Test against Zimbabwe to preserve him for the India series.

Dale Steyn marked his long-awaited return to worldwide cricket with a wicket as India ended day one of the first Test three down, losing Virat Kohli cheaply after Bhuvneshwar Kumar helped bowl South Africa out. South Africa, which was 3-12 and in similar trouble at the start of the day, battled its way to 286 all out in its first innings.

The Indian team arrived in South Africa full of confidence and the backing from stars of the previous era as well as pundits of the game. If Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel unnerved the Indian batsmen with searing pace and uncomfortable bounce, targeting the rib cage, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander showed there is more to fast bowling than just the pace - swinging and seaming the Indian batsmen to their doom.

That changed with the first ball after lunch, which Cheteshwar Pujara slashed a Philander outswinger to gully to end a stay of more than two-and-a-half hours in which he faced 92 balls and scored 26.

Philander, Steyn and Morkel claimed one wicket each.

Kumar, who took wickets in each of his first three overs, finished with four for 87 and conceded more than four runs an over as did fellow seamers, new cap Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya.

Philander lured Pujara and Ashwin on the off-side to their fall while Steyn nicely set Wriddhiman Saha with a few outswingers before slipping in an inswinging delivery. "It also means he could be out of the series", said South African team doctor Mohammed Moosajee.

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South Africa was saved by de Villiers and du Plessis, and a solid contribution from its middle to lower order. "That is an area we can improve on", Bhuvneshwar said on Friday. "Those runs down there at the bottom, especially in tough batting conditions, really are vital".

Steyn left the field during India's innings having bowled 17.3 overs and went for scans on a bruised heel.

However, De Villiers and Du Plessis came to the rescue with a 114-run partnership, during which De Villiers surpassed his fifty.

Du Plessis' exit was greeted by a running, fist-pumping celebration by India skipper Kohli.

South African fast bowler Dale Steyn was forced off the field on Saturday.

That intensity in the field may characterize a contest where India, clearly the best team in the world after nine straight Test series victories, is under scrutiny as it nearly always is to prove it can win big series away from home.

But India would have been satisfied that they didn't lose more than one wicket.

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