CENTURION – At 10.28am on Boxing Day 2018, Dale Steyn, finally, set himself atop the South African Test wicket taking charts in front of his home crowd at SuperSport Park, taking his 422nd Test wicket.
Getting the ball to leave Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman off the pitch, Steyn watched as it flew off the edge of the left-hander’s bat, and was snaffled by Dean Elgar at third slip.
In the process, he went past Shaun Pollock, who took 421 wickets in his stellar career.
The celebrations were animated – Steyn leaping high and punching the air, his teammates charging toward him and Kagiso Rabada lifting him atop his shoulders.
Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the best’ thundered around the ground, with a healthy first-day crowd acknowledging their hero giving him a standing ovation.
In the SuperSport commentary box in the main grandstand, there was more appreciation for Steyn from the man whose record he broke as Pollock gave him a thumbs-up, with Steyn returning the gesture.
“A heartfelt congratulations to Dale,” Pollock said in a brief statement.
“He’s been a fantastic bowler for South Africa for so long. His performances both home and away have been remarkable in so many ways.
“The fact that he is the best Test fast bowler that South Africa has produced doesn’t require my endorsement, as his stats and record tell you that.”
Dale Steyn took his 400th Test wicket on 30 July 2015. It has taken him 1245 days get the next 22 wickets to go past Shaun Pollock's SA record. This is just his 9th Test in that time.— Andrew Samson (@AWSStats) December 26, 2018
Steyn is currently 11th on the all-time Test wicket-taking list, and the next target for him will be New Zealand’s Richard Hadlee, who finished his career with 431 wickets.
The top wicket-taker of all time is Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralidaran with 800. The leading fast bowler is England’s James Anderson, who’s taken 565 wickets.
Dale Steyn, we salute you! What a man, what a player. Fitting that “Simply the best” is playing at Supersport Park, where everything started! Congrats legend @DaleSteyn62— AB de Villiers (@ABdeVilliers17) December 26, 2018