Steyn licks his wounds after 'worst day of cricket career'

For South Africa's ace fast bowler there was no equivocation. "It was the worst day of my cricketing career," said Dale Steyn after watching his side plummet to 76 for 6 in the second Test against England. "There was no anger in the dressing room. There's no time for anger. I came out of the shower and I had to put my pads on.

"They were able to bowl straight, wicket-taking balls because they had built up such a massive lead. That was something we couldn't do when they batted, but they did it well."

England employed their game plan perfectly on the fourth day of the match. By its end they led by 156 runs and need only four more South Africa wickets to take a surprising 1-0 lead in the four-match series. Having hung on for a draw with one wicket in hand at Centurion there are shades of last summer's Ashes about this impending victory.

Then England left Cardiff after a valiant draw when it seemed that Australia must win. The following week, form was turned on its head by England's first victory against Australia at Lord's for 75 years.

So it has been here. But England can hardly have expected the dramatic twist in fortune which has occurred in this match and reached its apex yesterday. After they had built a lead of 232 thanks to Ian Bell's beautifully crafted innings of 141, they tore through their opponents' top order.

For a few overs both Graeme Swann, bowling guileful off-spin, and Stuart Broad, hitting the kind of unwieldy length which Glenn McGrath made his own for a decade, made life torturous for South Africa. Their top six batsmen were swept away for 50 runs.

"We got ourselves into a deep hole and we probably need a bit of weather around to dig ourselves our of it," said Steyn, who finished England's innings with a belated, two-wicket flourish.

Steyn was equally candid about Bell's innings. "It was probably career-saving," he said. "After what happened at Centurion people were saying he had probably played his last innings for England. He played very well, he is a good player, not to be undermined."

If it was not Bell who put the seal on England's day, it was he who set it up in the morning. He agreed, however, that he was fighting for his international life. "I knew I was under the pump a little bit. There is talk of whether you play six batters, or five batters and an extra bowler. I needed an innings no doubt about it and I needed something now."

It allowed the bowlers to attack. How they did. "Swann was fantastic," said Bell. "He seems to make things happen and he doesn't seem to take long to settle into a superb line and length and Broad again, as soon as he hits his line and length, was immediately asking questions.

"You have to be able to bowl accurately. It's still a very good wicket and we went out and did some really good things there by not making it too complicated and banging out line and lengths." Bang out a few more today and England will be home and hosed by lunch.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness