Dale Steyn became South Africa’s joint highest Test wicket taker on Saturday in the second innings of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle, equalling fellow fast bowler Shaun Pollock’s record of 421 dismissals. Steyn removed Sri Lanka's last batsman Lakshan Sandakan for six to claim his 421st wicket, forcing the tailender to give a simple catch to Temba Bavuma at point. Steyn took 21 Tests less than Pollock, who ended with 421 wickets after 108 Tests, to reach the landmark.
Steyn’s bowling average of 22.42 is slightly better than Pollock's 23.11 and the former leads by a considerable margin as far as the strike rate is concerned. He picks up a wicket every 41.6 balls.
While some world class bowlers enjoy great success at home, that tend to struggle away from home. But Steyn has been equally effective in home and away conditions. In 47 home Tests, he bagged 243 wickets as compared to 164 in 36 matches playing away.
Having said that the fast bowler had his favourite venue too — Newlands in Cape Town — where he scalped 67 wickets in 14 matches. Next on the list is Centurion, where he has 56 dismissals.
Steyn, prior to this match had 419 wickets in his kitty and had last played a Test in January this year against India. He was returning to cricket after a gap of 13 months after going under the knife for a shoulder injury. However, as luck would have it, he broke down after bowling 17.3 overs and taking two wickets in the Cape Town Test, suffering a muscle tear in his left heel.
Steyn started his comeback in county cricket earlier on in the season, playing five games for Hampshire, three List A matches and two county championship encounters. He had a strong performance against Yorkshire, returning with match-figures of 5/66.
After making his international debut, other than being one of the world's leading Test bowlers, Steyn has proved his mettle in the shorter formats too. In the 116 ODIs he has picked 180 wickets, to go with 58 T20I wickets in 42 games. He will have the opportunity to go past Pollock in the second Test at Colombo starting on July 20th.