June 5, 2023

When Dale Steyn ran in to bowl to Sachin Tendulkar, cricket’s thrill quotient would reach its climax.

The world’s best fast bowler versus the best batsman of his generation. In a conversation with TOI, Tendulkar recalls why he loved facing Steyn…“I have to say that without any doubt, he’s amongst the top bowlers that I played in my 24-year career. I thought that something which was incredible, but he managed to do consistently was that late outswinger (that he possessed) and that angle that he developed.

“The only other guy who bowled very much like him was possibly James Anderson. Their wrist positions were similar. But Steyn had a more whippy action. He could go through the crease much faster. The swing that he consistently got at that pace was incredible. When he was at his peak, he was bowling close to 150kmph, so it wasn’t that easy to handle. That’s where he had mastered that art. When he wanted to be really quick, he could do so.

“I remember the spell that he bowled to me on the morning of the third Test in Cape Town (Sachin scored 146, and Gautam Gambhir 93 in the first innings of that Test, in January 2011). Gautam played Morne Morkel, and I played Steyn. For close to an hour, we couldn’t rotate the strike at all. Whatever runs we scored, we scored in boundaries! That one hour, I can say, is one of the most thrilling, interesting and challenging hours that I’ve played in Test cricket! That was a decisive moment.

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