On a wicket that had something to offer for the fast bowlers, the South African pace triumvirate ripped apart the Indian batting on Thursday. And no prizes for guessing the wrecker-in-chief — Dale Steyn, of course.
Bowling at his best, Steyn returned figures of 5 for 23 and the 24-year-old termed this spell as his “best in the sub-continent”.
“I think I conceded 11 runs in my last over. Otherwise, I would have returned figures of 5 for 12,” Steyn told reporters.
Admitting that he was “surprised” by the amount of grass on the wicket, Steyn said he didn’t understand the logic behind India’s decision to bat first.
“I was surprised. I haven’t played too much in the sub-continent, especially in India, and I’ve never seen a pitch with so much grass,” he said.
“Maybe, it played more into our hands. From what I read in the papers, there was a bit of an argument between the curator and the Indian captain. If they didn’t get what they wanted then you have to ask the question, ‘why did they bat first?’ If you always thought it was going to be green, then maybe you made the wrong decision.”
Steyn also said he “wasn’t too surprised” by the lack of application by the Indian batsmen.
“I’m not too surprised. That’s the vibe they’ve given. Once one or two wickets fall and things kind of go wrong, they are pretty weak and the batsmen to follow didn’t look they knew what they wanted to do,” said the lanky bowler.
“They didn’t have a gameplan.”
During the build-up to the Test, coach Mickey Arthur and skipper Graeme Smith were vociferous about bombarding Virender Sehwag with short-pitched stuff. Steyn felt this made the Indians non-committal towards playing on the front foot.