South Africa’s 2007–2008 tour of India is definitely one of the most memorable Test series of all time and three of the biggest highlights of this series would be, Virender Sehwag’s triple century, AB de Villiers’ double century and Dale Steyn’s extraordinary spell of 5/23. Relive Dale Steyn 5/23 here.Embed from Getty Images
Handed over a humiliating defeat in the first game of the series in Chennai in which Virender Sehwag scored a sensational 319, the visitors had a lot to prove in the second Test. And this game, in Ahmedabad, promised more runs than ever, given the weather conditions and the pitch.
Expecting to put South Africa in a similar tizzy as in the first game, India’s captain Sourav Ganguly chose to bat after winning the toss.
And the hosts were handed over one of the biggest blows in the history of cricket. Makhaya Ntini opened the quota of wickets for South Africa by dismissing Wasim Jaffer.
On the other end, Steyn was already executing his plot to pick up Sehwag’s wicket. Ball by ball, he increased his aggression that forced Sehwag to defend the balls. And then, Steyn slightly changed the length tempting Sehwag to try and cut the ball and Sehwag was bowled when he got a thick inside edge to the wickets.
Losing wickets in quick succession, Rahul Dravid was the only hope India had to put up a decent score. Dravid was showing his trademark defence in every ball pestering the bowling side, and it took a single misjudgement from Dravid and an extra room for Steyn to uproot the off-stump. India was at 53–5 when this happened.
This is when Irfan Pathan started showing some resistance, so, Steyn cleaned up the batsmen on the other end. Harbhajan Singh was out LBW on a fiery quick ball whereas RP Singh cluelessly nicked a short ball which was caught by Smith standing at the slip. A couple of balls later, Sreesanth was out bowled to Steyn. Steyn completed his brilliant 5 wicket haul with Sehwag, Dravid, Harbhajan, RP Singh and Sreesanth being his victims.
India’s innings didn’t even last a session as it was all out for 76 in just 20 overs. Batting next, South Africa put up a score of 494/7 before declaring, thanks to a double century by Ab de Villiers and a century by Jacques Kallis.Embed from Getty Images
With a lead of 418, South Africa was pretty confident of winning the match and levelling the series. India was all out for 328 in the third innings, and even in this innings, Steyn managed to pick three wickets.
Ultimately, South Africa won by an innings and 90 runs.
What made Dale Steyn 5/23 spell special was the fact that each ball seemed to get faster and faster and any pacer would tone down his aggression once the tailenders come to bat, but Steyn didn’t. And just watching him bowl those deliveries to the tailenders would force you to think that Steyn should be banned from bowling to the tailenders. This performance from Steyn was just a shadow of what this pacer would go on to achieve in the next decade and it also stood 4th in Wisden’s greatest Test spells of the 2000s
Featured Image:- Ricky2525 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
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