Steyn moves level with Broad as Sri Lanka falter at Kingsmead

By Sports Desk February 14, 2019

Dale Steyn moved level with Stuart Broad in the list of all-time Test wicket takers as South Africa seized control of the first Test with Sri Lanka.

South Africa were dismissed for just 235 on the opening day in Durban, but day two saw Sri Lanka falter even more severely as Steyn took centre stage to climb into a tie for seventh on the list with 437 wickets.

The pace bowler claimed three scalps on Thursday to record figures of 4-48 as Sri Lanka were all out for just 191.

Only three quicks – Courtney Walsh, Glenn McGrath and James Anderson – have more scalps in the longest format.

Sri Lanka bowled with purpose as they sought to limit the hosts' lead, but South Africa closed on 126-4 to move 170 runs ahead.

And, with only South Africa having chased down over 200 at Kingsmead since the turn of the century, Sri Lanka's task in the fourth innings appears destined to be a futile one.

The tourists started the day on 49-1 but added only two more runs before Steyn had Oshada Fernando trapped in front.

Just 10 balls later Dimuth Karunaratne went in the same circumstances to Vernon Philander, who then saw off Kusal Mendis for 12.

Niroshan Dickwella soon followed him back to the pavilion, with Kusal Perera (51) the only steadying presence in an underwhelming reply.

Perera hit seven fours and a maximum in a brisk 63-ball innings that brought about his first Test fifty since November 2016.

However, he continued to lack support and Sri Lanka had just 152 runs on the board when he sliced Steyn to substitute fielder Zubayr Hamza to leave them eight down.

Debutant Lasith Embuldeniya provided admirable resistance, his 24 featuring four boundaries, but fittingly it was Steyn who caught him at mid-off to end the innings with Sri Lanka 44 runs adrift.

Aiden Markram set about adding to South Africa's advantage quickly but lasted only 31 balls before sending a thick edge to second slip.

Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar added another 34 before the former skipper became the Vishwa Fernando's fifth wicket of an impressive match for the left-armer.

Temba Bavuma fell cheaply to Embuldeniya, who then made a sharp take to his left to catch Elgar off his own bowling.

Yet the ship was firmly steadied by Faf du Plessis (25 not out) and Quinton de Kock (15no), who will seek to build an imposing target for the tourists to chase. 

Related items

  • Starc's stunning Lord's show sends ominous message to Australia's World Cup rivals Starc's stunning Lord's show sends ominous message to Australia's World Cup rivals

    England were undone by the leader of a pace attack for the second time in the space of four days as their World Cup semi-final hopes suffered a further blow at Lord's. However, rather than it being one in the twilight of his career, it was a bowler at the peak of his powers.

    Lasith Malinga's performance in Sri Lanka's stunning win at Headingley on Friday felt like a parting gift from a player heading for international retirement. Starc's showing, in which he joined Malinga in helping prevent England chase down a sub-300 total, was more of an ominous message to those hoping to dethrone Australia as world champions.

    Those rivals did not need a reminder of Starc's pedigree as the best fast bowler on the planet, but he delivered one anyway.

    Jason Behrendorff will take plenty of acclaim with a five-wicket haul, while there is also sure to be significant rumination over the decision-making of England's batsmen when chasing such a modest score, with Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler dismissed via questionable shots.

    Yet there can be no doubt of the quality of Starc's pivotal 4-43. An inswinging length ball did for Joe Root and, though his dismissal of Morgan came as a result of a rash shot, it is the glorious way in which he ended Ben Stokes' brave resistance that will live long in the memory.

    Stokes was gaining steam towards a century and serving as the glue holding together an unlikely England fightback from 53-4 in pursuit of 286. The all-rounder had been growing increasingly emphatic in his treatment of the other members of the Australia attack but there was nothing he could about the ball that ended his stay 11 runs shy of a first ODI hundred since June 2017.

    Starc produced a superb yorker that swung into the base of the off stump and left Stokes kicking his bat in frustration. Afterwards, though, he seemed to accept it was a delivery he could do little about.

    "It was a good ball, yeah," Stokes told reporters. "Ninety miles per hour reverse-swing yorker," he added with a nervous smile.

    Nervous would be an understandable emotion for England and the other contenders to be feeling with Starc in this kind of form.

    "I'm in a really good place, physically, mentally and with my cricket and just loving being part of this group and contributing to the group as well," Starc said.

    "There's going to be times where it doesn't go too well but I'm playing cricket for Australia with a group of great guys so life's not too bad."

    To say life's not too bad may be putting it mildly. After being named player of the tournament in the last World Cup, Starc is now the leading wicket-taker in this one with 19 and has a sensational average of just 21.07 in ODI cricket.

    And, worryingly for everyone else, Starc believes he and Australia are capable of even more as they look ahead to the semi-finals with their last-four spot already sewn up.

    "I said before, it's a great feeling amongst the group," Starc added. "It's been a lot of fun at the last World Cup and again in this World Cup to have a group with a lot of smiles on their faces.

    "We're playing some really good cricket but we're still searching for that complete performance. We're building nicely for the back end."

    Few could argue with that assessment and, with Starc firing, many may be reconsidering England's status as tournament favourites and attaching that moniker to Australia instead. 

    This World Cup was supposed to be the one where the top-ranked ODI side completed a journey to their first 50-over world title. However, thanks to Starc and a bowling unit now with added depth through the inclusion of Behrendorff, their Ashes rivals are threatening to tear up the script.

  • Roy 'hopeful' of facing India, reveals England captain Morgan Roy 'hopeful' of facing India, reveals England captain Morgan

    England opener Jason Roy is optimistic he will return from a three-game absence to face India in the Cricket World Cup on Sunday, captain Eoin Morgan has revealed.

    A hamstring injury meant Roy was sidelined once again on Tuesday when the tournament hosts fell to a 64-run loss to Australia, denting their semi-final aspirations.

    Morgan's side have lost two of the three matches Roy has missed, with his deputy James Vince dismissed for a second-ball duck against Australia after scoring a combined 40 in his previous two knocks.

    Roy took part in practice on Monday and Morgan said the 28-year-old believes he will be ready to take on India at Edgbaston in a match which has suddenly become crucial for their last-four hopes.

    "I think with four days of rehabilitation, he's hopeful of being fit," Morgan told Sky Sports.

    "But if it's a big risk, we'll play it as it is."

    Roy smashed 153 in his last innings against Bangladesh on June 8 but pulled up in the field when chasing a ball in England's clash with West Indies.

    Without him, England were bowled out for 212 against Sri Lanka in a 20-run loss at Headingley last Friday, while they were dismissed for 221 when chasing Australia's 285-7 on Tuesday.

    Their explosive batting was considered a large reason why they were made pre-tournament favourites and Morgan insisted it was too simplistic to think Roy's absence was the only reason for their struggles.

    "I think our basics get challenged a lot more when we don't play on batter-friendly wickets, when you probably have to rotate the strike a lot more, as opposed to find the boundary more often," he said.

  • England captain Morgan not panicking after back-to-back losses England captain Morgan not panicking after back-to-back losses

    Eoin Morgan remains upbeat about England's semi-final prospects despite seeing his side slip to a second successive Cricket World Cup loss to Australia at Lord's.

    Reigning champions Australia became the first team to seal their last-four berth with a 64-run success, captain Aaron Finch scoring 100 in their 285-7 before the recalled Jason Behrendorff (5-44) and the tournament's leading wicket-taker Mitchell Starc (4-43) helped dismiss England for 221.

    The tournament hosts, who lost to Pakistan and were beaten by Sri Lanka last week, could have slipped out of the top four by the time they play their penultimate fixture against India at Edgbaston on Sunday.

    However, Morgan, whose men face unbeaten New Zealand in their final group game, is confident the pre-tournament favourites can get back on track.

    "I think given the circumstances it's not hugely disappointing – our fate is in our own hands the next two games that we play," he said at the post-match presentation.

    "If we can control that and produce performances, we'll be in a healthy position come the latter stages.

    "I think everything we need to turn around is quite simple. We're not going to search for anything that's not there. The basics of the game have let us down the last couple of games so we're going to hopefully improve on them moving forward."

    Morgan claimed England were "outplayed" and pointed to the disappointing start to their reply as James Vince, Joe Root and the captain himself all fell inside the opening six overs to leave them on 26-3.

    "Until the 25th [over of Australia's innings], they sort of dominated," he said.

    "I thought we pegged them back really well – for a long time they looked like they were going to get 330 or 340; to restrict them to 280 was a good effort.

    "But when you make inroads early and get us 20-3, it obviously pegs us back quite substantially."

    Australia's decision to bring in Behrendorff for Nathan Coulter-Nile paid off as he claimed his best figures in ODIs, but it was Starc who took the most crucial wicket, Ben Stokes (89) undone by a brilliant yorker when it had looked like he might be England's hero.

    "You can't win the tournament if you don't make the semis so that's the first part ticked off, which is a really nice feeling," said Finch. 

    "We've played some good cricket throughout so far so touch wood it keeps going in the right direction.

    "England are a standout side and they're a team that can take you apart with the ball and with the bat in certain stages.

    "Even you saw today we got them down four down quite quickly and then Stokes and [Jos] Buttler build a partnership and Stokesy, when he gets in, can be pretty brutal on an attack.

    "It was nice that we found ways to keep getting wickets in that middle part as well."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.