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Steyn routs Kiwis yet again
18 Nov 2007
By: Richard Dickinson


On a manic day - 17 wickets in 66 overs - South Africa claimed another landslide victory, this time by an innings and 59 runs, to complete a convincing 2-0 victory over New Zealand. Dale Steyn was the star of the show yet again, finishing, as at The Wanderers last week, with a 10-wicket match bag. This was after a middle-order collapse from South Africa had moved the game on in the morning session.

The hosts have owed much in this series to the batting of Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis, as virtually everyone else on both sides has struggled to cope with some uneven surfaces and a swinging ball. Mark Gillespie, who had sprayed the ball and bowled criminally short the previous day, found a fine full length and snared Ashwell Prince in the 3rd over of the day as the batsman flashed at a wide delivery and edged a straightforward catch to substitute Jamie How in the gully. AB de Villiers, under some pressure for his place as Neil McKenzie continues to pile on the runs, started carefully. Amla, meanwhile, continued to ease his way, unhurried, towards a second consecutive century, which he completed with a single to square-leg off Vettori.

South Africa got to the 80th over with just 4 wickets down and the new-ball available. Immediately it was taken, wickets crashed: off the very first ball of the 81st, Amla aimed a pull at Iain O'Brien, changed his mind halfway and went for a cut, and could only spoon a catch into the covers, which was well taken by Michael Papps diving to his right. Immediately, de Villiers upped his pace, taking on Gillespie who, with Chris Martin laid low with a virus, was sharing the new-ball. Gillespie held his own, however, and claimed Boucher's wicket as he aimed an expansive drive at a wide delivery and dragged the ball into his stumps, removing both the middle and the leg. In his next over he claimed two more, de Villiers top-edging an attempted hook and Brendon McCullum taking a very fine catch running back. Paul Harris was gone 4 balls later, slashing at ball far too close to aim through the off and giving McCullum a more straightforward take. Suddenly, South Africa were 332 for 8, 4 having gone down for 20.

However, for the next 11 overs Andre Nel and Steyn swung, edged, missed and middled in equal measure. The New Zealand seamers could not complete the job, and just as suddenly a partnership of 51 - both players scoring 25 - had put the wind back into South Africa's sails. New Zealand grabbed the last two wickets just in time to allow the lunch break to give them a recovery time, Daniel Vettori trapping Nel in front and Papps taking another very fine catch off O'Brien to dismiss Steyn. South Africa had a lead of 195, however, and with New Zealand's brittle top-order, long tail and one-man-down batting line-up (Craig Cumming was still in hospital after his blow on the head on the opening day) would have fancied their chances of finishing the game in the two sessions, provided the light held as it had not in previous evening sessions.

In a flash after lunch, Steyn had the openers lbw. Lou Vincent it has to be said was exceedingly unfortunate, given by Mark Benson to a delivery which was patently missing leg-stump. There was no such doubt about Papps, whose wretched tour (46 runs in 8 First-Class innings, 17 in 4 in the Tests) got no better. Stephen Fleming and Scott Styris played-and-missed plenty at Steyn, Makhaya Ntini and Nel, but for once in the series the nicks did not come, and in between the two batsmen played some crunching front-foot strokes.

They could not, however, beat the 62 between Cumming and Vincent in the first-innings as their side's best of the series, as Kallis again managed to snaffle a wicket early in his spell (his series tally finished at 5 in 23 overs). Styris edged an expansive back-foot drive at a delivery outside off-stump to the third-man boundary and next ball aimed almost the same shot at almost the same ball. This one, however, moved away a fraction more, and ended in de Villiers' hands at second-slip.

The floodgates were open once again: Nel probably should have had Ross Taylor lbw after he had struck consecutive fours. Umpire Benson turned down the appeal, but the batsman wandered out of his crease and Amla at short-leg once again demonstrated a sharp awareness and threw down the stumps. McCullum stuck with Fleming for long enough for him to post the Kiwis' first (and only) half-century of the series, but on 54 he received a sharp inswinger from Steyn which Daryl Harper thought had pitched in line with and was hitting leg-stump. Replays showed neither to be true, but having got away with two plumb lbws against Steyn in recent games - one of which allowed him to score 262 - the batsman cannot moan too much.

The last 4 wickets were a procession: McCullum received a brute of an outswinger from Steyn and Graeme Smith, as usual, took the catch; Gillespie got a slightly thicker edge to a similar ball to Kallis at second; and Ntini, after conceding two boundaries to Vettori, had his revenge thanks to a catch from de Villiers that would have made Jonty Rhodes proud. A full-blooded drive was virtually past him when he leapt to his right at extra-cover, got two hands to the ball and held-on seemingly without effort.

With O'Brien and Martin at the wicket the end is always going to be nigh, and it was the former who gave Steyn his 6th of the innings and 10th of the match. As usual, full and straight did the job, and the middle pole was removed. Steyn was, unsurprisingly, named man-of-the-match for the second game in a row, and was the indisputable choice for player-of-the-series.

This is the first of three Test series in less than 12 months for South Africa, and they have made a fine start to the sequence. New Zealand, meanwhile, have not enjoyed a happy reintroduction to the longer game in their first Test series for 10 months. They have much to think about before they face England in March; for starters, they must see-off Bangladesh. Even that will be no formality unless they up their game.

New Zealand 188
Dale Steyn 4-42

South Africa 383
Hashim Amla 103, Jacques Kallis 131
Mark Gillespie 5-136

New Zealand 136
Dale Steyn 6-49

South Africa won by an innings and 59 runs

Man of the match: Dale Steyn

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