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Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010

Paceman Dale Steyn cuts through India in Nagpur Test

First Test, Nagpur, day three (close):
India 233 & 66-2 v South Africa 558-6d

Match scorecard

By Oliver Brett

Dale Steyn
Steyn was inspired all day

Dale Steyn produced an outstanding display of pace bowling as South Africa took 12 wickets on the third day of the first Test, forcing India to follow on.

In reply to South Africa's 558-6 declared India folded for 233 and their problems deepened as they reached 66-2 second time around, still 259 behind.

Steyn (7-51 and 1-14) bowled fast on a perfect length in Nagpur, swinging the new ball and reversing the old.

Virender Sehwag hit an exciting 109 but was dismissed twice in the the day.

India began the third day on 25-0, but under some pressure as they replied to a mammoth South African score on a wicket that was already beginning to break up a little. With three batsmen out injured in Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh, a searching examination was expected.

However, barring the one wicket for spinner Paul Harris - and the significant one of skipper Mahendra Dhoni - it was pace that did for India. Generally it was the pace of 26-year-old Steyn, whose Monday masterclass showed precisely why he holds a clear lead at the top of the bowling world rankings.

He said afterwards: "On some days you can bowl the best of your life and not pick wickets and then you have some days when things just fall into place.

"There was a ball change around tea time as the seam had split open and we came back strongly after that."


Before Steyn got to work, Morne Morkel supplied the first wicket, grazing Gautam Gambhir's outside edge. Steyn then fired an inswinger into Murali Vijay, the right-handed number three helping him out by offering no shot to a ball that crashed into his stumps.

So when Sachin Tendulkar proved good enough to nick a rapid Steyn outswinger of the type that Paul Collingwood was unable to get bat to on several occasions on the final day of the Cape Town Test, India were already in considerable trouble at 56-3.

But Sehwag found a willing partner in Test debutant Subramaniam Badrinath, and they took India close to the tea interval in a generally untroubled 136-run stand. South Africa's bowlers knew that bowling short to Sehwag would not prove a sensible option, but he punished them, particularly the seamers, with some wonderful front-foot driving.

He was furious when he threw his wicket away, however, slicing a wide half-volley from the generally disappointing Wayne Parnell to deep cover.

But it still looked as though India might be able to get close to South Africa's score and make a draw the likeliest result, when wickets began tumbling straight after tea in a crazy final session lit up by some superlative bowling from Steyn.

First Harris got a ball to bounce off the rough areas outside Dhoni's leg-stump and India's skipper looked up in horror as it glanced off his gloves to slip when he had no intention of playing a shot.

Steyn used the reverse swing very well. He is a very good bowler but he was simply brilliant today

Virender Sehwag

Three balls later Badrinath chipped a loose ball from Steyn to short mid-wicket, but there was nothing lucky about the sixth Indian wicket in the same over. The other debutant Wriddhiman Saha fatally chose to leave an inswinger, replicating the Vijay dismissal, and Steyn was officially on fire.

He picked up wickets five and six by bowling Zaheer Khan and Amit Mishra, two Indian tailenders who could be excused their failures against Steyn in this mood - and at least they both attempted shots.

Inevitably Steyn also grabbed the final wicket of the innings when Harbhajan Singh was lbw, and after plenty of debate with his team-mates Graeme Smith enforced the follow-on.

His fears as to whether or not he had made the right decision could be brushed aside as Gambhir became the third batsman of the day to be bowled offering no shot, Morkel again his nemesis, before Sehwag was hit in the ribs by the same bowler.

Unsettled, Sehwag edged Steyn into the slip cordon before Tendulkar and Vijay regrouped for the final hour. But to say the damage had already been done would be to understate South Africa's immensely strong position.

Sehwag said afterwards: "We all are very disappointed with our performance. We needed some big partnerships. But Steyn used the reverse swing very well. He is a very good bowler but he was simply brilliant today.

"We will now try hard and fight back. We will give our 100% to save the match."

• AB de Villiers kept wicket throughout the final session as Mark Boucher rested up with a bad back.

However, a team spokesman expected Boucher to return for the second and final Test in Calcutta on Sunday.

"The doctors have given him a clean bill of health," he said. "It is being treated as a lower back strain and he will undergo treatment with the physiotherapist.

"We are not putting a time frame on when he will be back on the field but we are confident he will be ready for the second Test at the worst."

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see also
In pictures: India v South Africa
09 Feb 10 |  Cricket
Amla puts South Africa in charge
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Kallis & Amla put S Africa on top
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India without Dravid and Yuvraj
28 Jan 10 |  India
South Africa in India 2010
24 Feb 10 |  Cricket

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