Steyn, Wagner in lively battle


The smashing was fun to watch, if ill-advised. So, too, was the gob-fest, bringing a bit of spite into a match that has been amicable and yet full of fight. A good old-fashioned Test. Steyn and the South African attack had a good day. As well as South Africa had batted here, so did they bowl, accurately and with venom.

Two good reviews overturned not-out decisions against Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling for Kagiso Rabada and Steyn respectively. Vernon Philander got Mitchell Santner to edge one on to his stumps before Wagner wagged and the tail was nipped short. Kane Williamson top-scored with 77. Faf du Plessis calls him ‘Waggies’, but after hitting Steyn for 22 runs in his stand of 31 - 18 of those in one over, including a six - it would have been choice.

Wagner had dished it out and he had to take it.

“I don’t really know what to say,” smiled Steyn, who then had a mini dig at the Pretoria-born Wagner before pulling it back.

“He came out and he stood there and slogged away. If he wanted to be more courageous he would have had 30 off 90 and watched his captain get to 100, rather than get 31 and walked off the pitch saying, I’ve done my job!. That’s not your job.

“He does take it on, and does play the shots. He’s a brave cricketer, he’s an all-heart kind of cricket player. If it had been me, I would have tried to stick it out there and played 10 off 50 balls and seen Kane through.”

After running through New Zealand, South Africa looked to be discussing whether they would declare overnight, but Steyn said they were in no rush to win the Test. They still had two days to play.

“We’ve got three seamers, and I think we will probably do the bulk of the bowling,” said Steyn. “It was probably just a good idea to give the legs a bit of a rest and to go again (today).”

Quinton de Kock said he does not want to open the batting for South Africa at Test level and was only doing the coach a favour when he offered after the injury to Dean Elgar. They may have a few more chats with him about it after he became the first South African wicketkeeper to score back-to-back 50s as an opener. His 50 off 43 balls was a delight. The rest of the batting line-up was rushed and knocked over with indecent haste. Temba Bavuma and De Kock aside, five South Africans fell for 16 runs. It is not an easy wicket to bat on.

“It looked pretty hectic out there. I am sure those cracks will widen as the day goes on (today) and even if we drift towards a day five it will be pretty difficult. It’s a typical Centurion wicket, actually. The game plans will still be the same for us: top of off stump with a lot of bouncers. When you hit the deck here, there is always something in the wicket. So far, I think we have batted nicely.”

South Africa will not declare overnight, said Steyn, who took his 50th Test wicket at SuperSport Park. There are two days left. The Proteas want to bat until lunchtime at the least and give themselves time to bowl New Zealand out. This match could be done tomorrow. It could go to the line.

“I will play until the last ball is bowled on day five if that is what it takes to win this match,” said Steyn.

Kevin McCallum reflects on the mini-battle between Neil Wagner and Dale Steyn on the third day of the second Test between South Africa and New Zealand at SuperSport Park.

Original source: Steyn, Wagner in lively battle