Stubborn Steyn removes all doubt... and misses Onions
DALE STEYN, fresh from his first five-wicket haul against England, was understandably happy after day one of the final Test at the Wanderers– and relieved to see England drop South Africa’s bogeyman, Graham Onions.
Steyn, who scuppered half of England’s side as they were skittled for 180, said: “It was something I was raring to get, a five-fer against England. I’ve done it against everybody else.
“I came close in Cape Town. Bowlers work hard for these things. We don’t often get decks that move around a bit, we’ve got to fill our boots when things happen like today.
“It didn’t happen for me in Cape Town, but I didn’t bowl as well as I did at Newlands but it went my way today a bit more.
“For me, the most important thing is to stick to the basics, I’ve never done anything special, I just apply the basics fantastically!
“In my first three Test matches against England I was very young but I won’t go there.
“If somebody had offered England all our for 180 and us 29 without loss, we would definitely have taken it at the start of the day.”
Asked about the decision to drop Onions, who has held out against South Africa twice as a No11 bat, Steyn was clearly surprised: “Sir Graham Onions? That’s what they’re calling him isn’t it?
“Even as a bowler he would have been a handful on this wicket, he could have been dangerous. I’m not taking anything away from Ryan Sidebottom but it was surprising to see he wasn’t playing. It was a bit of a relief for us.
“I won’t dwell too much on their side but we were surprised they dropped Onions. It’s their decision, I’m not really too fussed. It’s been a good day for South African cricket.
“Morne Morkel set the tone for us this morning, getting rid of Trott, Pietersen and Cook, who looked pretty solid. He’s been bowling pretty well. This is the start of Morne’s career. With Makhaya Ntini not in the side he has to step up to the plate.”
England’s top-scorer Paul Collingwood, who scored 47 while all about him where losing their heads, said: “We’re disappointed with 180, but the wicket’s certainly got a lot in it. Good carry, the ball’s swinging all the time and there’s certainly seam movement out there.
“But we’re disappointed. Hopefully we’ll do better second time around.
“The toss? I think both captains had the same idea, to bat if they won it. But on pitches like that you have to be committed, whether that’s a shot or a leave. A hundred percent committed.
“There are some guys who will be disappointed with their shots. It can be tough to play on these wickets.
“We’re not going to make an issue of Alastair Cook’s dismissal. We thought at first it was a no-ball, but having seen further footage. Andy Flower went to see the match referee. There was a still frame on the television which showed his foot was over the line. But there was a bit of slippage. It’s not an issue.
“All of us have got to understand what our strengths are as batsmen. We weren’t quite good enough today.”
On the decision to axe Onions for Sidebottom, Collingwood said: “Graham’s done a fantastic job but you can understand the need for fresh legs. You’re going to need four, five, six seamers in the future for England with all the overs they bowl in Test cricket these days.”
And how was the dressing-room affected by the first-ball dismissal of Strauss? “It’s not an ideal start if we’re honest. But it was a fantastic catch by Hashim Amla, not even a 50-50 chance. We never quite got through that new ball. This wicket seems to still be doing plenty with a 40-over old ball. It’s one of them watchful wickets.
“I thought we bowled excellent at the end, our lengths were exceptional. We’re going to get a lot of playing a missing. Hopefully we can hold our catches in the morning and get a few of them early.”
And the latest Kevin Pietersen failure? “I was glad to see him getting out to an attacking shot. I’d rather that than see him get out being defensive. That’s his way.”