Faf du Plessis-led South Africa will take on the struggling Steven Smith’s Australia in the first Test at the WACA ground in Perth on Thursday. Dale Steyn, who is one of four players in the current Proteas squad to have been part of the ‘double’ against Australia with Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Morne Morkel being the others, said it’s ‘exciting’ to be back at a fortress that holds many fond memories for the team.
Steyn said his teammate Kagiso Rabada would bring a lot of ‘heat’ to South Africa’s bowling attack in the three-match series.
“A lot of heat,” the 33-year-old said when asked what to expect from Rabada.
“He’s really quick and he’s got a great head on his shoulders. He’s always looking to learn and his record (29 wickets at 24.44 from eight Tests) is pretty amazing for such a young guy, especially a bowler,” Steyn said.
“Because you only see bowlers tend to come into their stripes at maybe 26 or 27, especially fast bowlers once they’ve learned their trade,” he added.
Only current Test bowler Vernon Philander (30.98) and former all-rounder Mike Procter (36.93) can claim a better strike rate among South African bowlers than Rabada’s current strike of a wicket every 38.93 deliveries.
Steyn, who has 416 wickets to his name in 84 Tests, also had no hesitation in declaring his likely new-ball partner was much faster than he currently is.
“It doesn’t feel like he’s been in this team for a long time but it’s actually almost three years now so he’s learned a lot and he’s an incredible talent,” Steyn said.
“I (attribute much of that) to the culture and the environment in this team, I think he’s got about 10 years of experience in three years, which is really great. I’m excited to see what he can do because in Adelaide the other night he was bowling really quick and he was landing the ball exactly where he wanted to. The guy’s got a lot of pace,” he concluded.