3 times Dale Steyn showed he is the best pacer in the world

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Dale Steyn

Arguably the best bowler of his time, Dale Steyn has called time on his Test career. Steyn, who terrorized all batsmen with his wonderful fast bowling skills, will now focus solely on ODIs and T20s.

Steyn’s bowling was perhaps best suited to Test cricket. He had the ability to swing the ball both ways, and that too at express pace. His lethal out-swingers and his trademark chainsaw celebrations were a source of joy for fans all around the world.

Steyn leaves a big void to fill for the Proteas, who have a young seam attack at present.

South Africa v Sri Lanka - 2nd Test

He is the only bowler to have a five-wicket haul against all nine Test-playing nations. Steyn finished as the leading wicket-taker for South Africa in Tests with 439 wickets from 93 Test matches. He is also 8th in the all-time wicket takers' list in Test cricket, with 26 five-wicket hauls and five 10-wicket hauls to his name.

Here, let us look at three of his best bowling performances in Test cricket. 

#1 7/51 against India at Nagpur in 2010

South Africa vs India - First Test

Steyn was a bowler for all conditions. Not only did he torment batsmen in England, Australia and South Africa, he was equally effective in the sub-continent as well. He was particularly devastating in India, troubling the Indian batsmen with his reverse swing.

In the first Test of the two-match series against India at Nagpur in 2010, Steyn wreaked havoc.

He first set up Murali Vijay, who shouldered arms to an in-swinger only to hear the stumps rattle. Next to go was India’s maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who was left bamboozled by a late out-swinger which he could only edge behind to the wicketkeeper.

Steyn then returned to wrap up the tail in devastating fashion, picking up the last 5 wickets to fall.

He eventually finished with figures of 7/51, which were very impressive for a fast bowler in the sub-continent. Steyn’s Herculean effort also brought in high praise from Indian captain MS Dhoni who said, “He was the best I have seen in the last two years at least as far as conventional bowling goes.”

#2 6/8 against Pakistan at Johannesburg in 2013

Steyn wrecked havoc against Pakistan in Johannesburg

South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first on a greenish surface. Pakistan’s new ball bowlers combined well with the off-spin of Mohammad Hafeez to restrict South Africa to a score of 253.

But the Proteas were bailed out once again by their talisman Dale Steyn, who produced a sensational spell of fast bowling.

Steyn first removed Hafeez with a peach of an outswinger which swerved away after pitching. He then got rid of the other opener Nasir Jamshed with a fast inswinger, as Jamshed was caught plumb in front of the wicket.

Steyn then got the big fish Younis Khan with one that moved miles after pitching; Younis could only edged through to first slip. He then returned to wrap up the tail.

The Pakistani batsmen had no answers to Steyn’s wonderful away swing, and the whole team was bundled out for just 49 runs. Four of Steyn’s six wickets were caught behind as the batsmen could not resist nicking his out-swingers.

Steyn got a fifer in the second innings as well and ended up with remarkable match figures of 11-60.

#3 10 wickets against Australia at Melbourne in 2008

Even the mighty Aussies bowed down to the fiery Steyn

This has to be ranked among the greatest performances ever by a fast bowler in Test cricket.

Steyn was quickly gaining a big reputation in the cricketing world, and then came his biggest test against Australia in 2008. The men of Oz had lost the first Test at Perth but Steyn didn't do much in that match. In the second Test at MCG though, Steyn proved his mettle by claiming 10 wickets across the two innings.

In the first innings, Steyn began proceedings by removing Simon Katich who dragged one on. He then took out the big fish Michael Hussey for a duck, as Hussey edged behind. Steyn then showed why he is so lethal against the tail, picking up 3 of the last 4 wickets to fall.

With the bat, he shared a match-defining 180-run stand with JP Duminy to help South Africa take a lead of 65 runs.

In the second innings, Steyn removed both the openers to destroy any hopes of an Aussie fightback. And just when the Aussies started putting up some resistance, Steyn turned the match once again with a double-wicket over, removing the well-set Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds.

South Africa chased down the target of 183 runs with ease and claimed a famous series win Down Under. Steyn had a match haul of 10 for 154.