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Thursday, Aug 13th

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Steyn burst powers South Africa over the line to level the series

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Dale Steyn took three wickets for four runs in 15 balls to break Australian resistance wide open and set South Africa on their way to a massive victory by 231 runs with a day to spare in the second Sunfoil Test match at Axxess St. George’s on Sunday.

The Proteas had taken the extra half-hour in their bid to win the match ahead of the predicted storms on Monday’s fifth day and there were only two balls left when part-time spinner, Dean Elgar – the seamers could not bowl in rapidly fading light – dismissed last man Nathan Lyon leg before wicket to claim the second wicket of his Test career.

The two spinners did, in fact, strike decisive blows as JP Duminy’s wicket – also lbw – to dismiss the threatening David Warner (66 off 73 balls, 9 fours and a six broke the opening stand of 126 in only 29 overs.

Although his partner, Chris Rogers, went on to make his fourth Test match century (107 off 237 balls, 12 fours), the dam wall was breached as Australia lost all 10 wickets for 90 runs in 44 overs.

Rogers was ninth man out as the result of a direct hit by substitute fielder, Alviro Petersen, as he endeavoured to farm the strike.

The key period was the 10-over spell when Steyn, with good support from Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel, led the attack as five wickets fell for just 14 runs. A key factor throughout the match was the ability of the South African seamers to get reverse swing reasonably early in both innings and there is no finer exponent of this skill than Steyn.

As well as Steyn led the attack during the decisive final session it was a good all-round bowling effort, particularly following the injury that cost them the services of Wayne Parnell for most of the first innings and the entire second innings.

The Proteas also come out of the match with their batting line-up looking more solid than ever on the back of centuries by Hashim Amla (his 21st), AB de Villiers (his 19th) and JP Duminy, not to mention the impressive way that Dean Elgar handled the Mitchell Johnson new ball factor.

The two teams now head for Sahara Park Newlands for what should be an epic series-decider from Saturday. The Western Cape faithful may have lost out on a New Year Test match but they have certainly now got the plum fixture of the season that is going to attract an audience way beyond the boundaries of this country.