After returning career-best figures of seven for 51 and helping South Africa to a position of strength in the first Test, fast-bowler Dale Steyn spoke to the media about his craft. Excerpts from the interaction:
On his bowling philosophy: As a quick bowler, you know that if you pitch the ball up, you’ll get driven. But when you pitch it up, you have a chance of finding the edge.
I didn’t mind being hit for four down the ground or being nicked for four. If he’s willing to drive, there’s a chance I can get a wicket. That’s the risk you take when you pitch it up.
On reverse swing: Before the Test started, we said reverse swing was going to be a key on these flat pitches. You’re not going to get a lot of sideways movement off the wicket. You’ve got to rely on getting the ball to do something through the air.
On the conventional in-swinger: It’s something I’ve been working on a lot. I don’t want to reveal all my secrets [laughs]. It’s a skill that you have to have in your armoury.
On setting up batsmen: You work on these things and then it’s nice to see guys shoulder arms and then the ball cannons into the stumps.
I worked Vijay out quite nicely with two balls that went away and then bringing one back in which he left. I got (Ian) Bell like that in Johannesburg and that was where it started from. We’ve really planned these things...makes the wicket so much sweeter.
On what sparked the post-tea burst: [Coach] Corrie [van Zyl] sat us down at tea and said that the session after lunch wasn’t good enough. Corrie said from tea onwards is what really defines a player.
You’ve already been out in the field four hours and now you’ve got to go and do another two. When you come to India, the days do tend to get warm and there’s no real movement off the deck. Little speeches like that can lift the players a lot.
On the onset of reverse swing: We had the ball changed because the one we were using had split open, and once it started to reverse and we got one or two lucky dismissals, it just started a roll.
Good planning as well with the ball and I think the execution was good.