The Proteas spearhead moved to the No 1 spot on the official ICC bowling rankings on Wednesday after inspiring South Africa to a 204-run victory over New Zealand to clinch the two-match series 1-0 at Centurion on Tuesday.
Steyn took 5/33 in 16.2 overs – his 26th Test five-wicket haul – in the Black Caps’ second innings of 195, ending with match figures of 8/99 after capturing the last man standing Henry Nicholls for 76.
It completes a remarkable comeback for the 33-year-old, who has spent the last 10 months trying to dispel doubts about his fitness after breaking down with groin and shoulder problems against India and England respectively.
Steyn not only came through unscathed against the Kiwis, but displayed the pace and swing that has made him the world’s leading paceman for the best part of the last decade.
That shape away from the right-hander was back, as well as that vicious bounce off a good length – which was well illustrated in his dismissal of Martin Guptill in the second innings, when Steyn found the edge and Quinton de Kock took the catch behind.
The “Phalaborwa Express” went past both Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and his long-time English rival Jimmy Anderson to jump two places from third to first, with Ashwin now second.
The ICC said on Wednesday that Steyn holds the record of 263 weeks at No 1, with Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan second on 214.
The next best South African bowlers also moved up the list, with Vernon Philander climbing two places to 11th after taking four wickets in Centurion, and Kagiso Rabada (five wickets) up three to 27th.
The two leading Proteas batsmen are still Hashim Amla (fourth) and AB de Villiers (sixth), while Faf du Plessis shot up nine spots from 33rd to 24th after his fifth Test hundred against New Zealand.
The 1-0 series win also saw South Africa jump two positions to fifth on the team rankings, with Pakistan on top after their recent 2-2 outcome against England as rain saw India draw their final Test with the West Indies in Trinidad to lose their No 1 ranking despite a 2-0 series win.
@ashfakmohamedIt was just his first taste of five-day cricket since last year’s Boxing Day Test, but now Dale Steyn is back where he belongs.
Original source: Steyn back at No 1 in world rankings