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Published: Sun, January 07, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Steyn may not bowl again in Test series against India

Steyn may not bowl again in Test series against India

He recently made a comeback in competitive cricket and Cricket South Africa (CSA) did not play him during the four-day Test against Zimbabwe to preserve him for the India series.

According to Bhuvneshwar, South Africa opting to bat after winning the toss didn't come as a surprise.

Steyn, who has been plagued by injuries over the last three years and was playing his first Test in more than a year, hurt his left foot when he landed awkwardly in a foothole on one delivery, South Africa manager and team doctor Mohammed Moosajee said.

"Hardik Pandya underlined the value of a quality pace-bowling all-rounder in the group with the most valuable innings of his fledgling global career yet, saving India the blushes against South Africa â€" first with the bat and then with the ball. He is unlikely to bowl in this Test again as the recovery period is between 4 to 6 weeks.

With the tourists in all sorts of trouble at 27/3, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma put together an unbeaten one-run partnership before stumps was called.

"It's never nice for Dale because he's just come back from injury", said Steyn's fellow South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada.

India resumed on 28/3, and the score stayed unmoved for four consecutive maidens sent down by Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.

Philander took 3/33 and Steyn 2/51.

Kumar also rued letting the South African tail wag. Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock hit 43 off just 40 balls, and the tailenders all chipped in. "That is an area we can improve on", Bhuvneshwar said. "The guys fought hard".

"Those runs down the order in tough conditions were vital", said Benkenstein.

But as the saying goes, offence is the best form of defence, Pandya produced a counter-attacking innings that steered India to a respectable 209 all out in 73.4 overs.

Instead his natural instincts went a long way to ensuring that, even as they were bowled out well inside 75 overs - hardly ideal for the team batting first in a Test - the Proteas importantly sported a vibrant run rate of 3.90 to the over, which arguably carried them some way past a "par" total.

Du Plessis' exit was greeted by a running, fist-pumping celebration by India skipper Kohli.

But the rest of the South African batting proved resilient.

That intensity in the field may characterize a contest where India, clearly the best team in the world after nine straight Test series victories, is under scrutiny as it nearly always is to prove it can win big series away from home. While India's fightback from an abysmal situation was admirable, they will have to pull off something out of the ordinary to make a match of it.

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