SYDNEY. — As they prepare for a three-Test cricket series against South Africa, Australia’s top order batsmen remain wary of facing Proteas paceman Dale Steyn. Steyn, who has taken 416 Test wickets at an average of 22.24, lost his top ICC ranking earlier this month, falling behind India’s Ravichandran Ashwin. Australia captain Steve Smith has faced Steyn many times, but remains wary of facing him.“When Dale comes on to bowl you’re always wary. He’s always at you, he’s always at your stumps or at the top of off stump,” Smith was quoted as saying on the Cricket Australia website.
“He’s got this incredible ability to be able to just click a switch and go up 10kph and end up bowling 145-150kph, which is something that a lot of bowlers around the world don’t have the luxury of doing. “He’s very smart in the way he bowls, (and) he bowls with beautiful shape, he’s got a nice seam and he’s going to be a challenge for us this summer.”
Opening batsman David Warner echoed the sentiments, adding that he would never dare play the shots against Steyn as he did as a younger player, when he had no fear at all.
“First time I faced him was in my Twenty20 debut (in 2009),” said Warner. “If I look back at that now and go ‘Would I do what I did then at him?’. I wouldn’t be playing a lap, probably wouldn’t walk at him.
“That’s just the fearlessness you have in you when you don’t have nothing to lose, but it’s just like, ‘OK, I can come out here, I can play my natural game’ and then over a period of time people work you out and they bowl different to you.
“He can bowl within himself, he can swing the ball early, then when he gets that older ball, he somehow gets 7-8kph faster, then it goes reverse you’ve got to really be switched on with him.’’ — AFP.