Dale Steyn is arguably the best fast bowler South Africa has ever produced. The seamer has the ability to give nightmares to the opposition batsmen with his intimidating run-up, lethal bouncers and yorkers.
He has donned the South African jersey in 93 Test matches and 125 One Day Internationals. The seamer has a whopping 439 Test wickets and 196 ODI scalps under his belt.
As the Phalaborwa-born is celebrating his 38th birthday, let's flip the pages and take a look at Steyn's best bowling spells in the international circuit.
7/51 v India, Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur, 6-9 February 2010
Touring India is never easy. You are greeted with low, slow and turning tracks. However, Steyn always found a way to pick wickets. During the two-Test series in early 2010, it was the battle for the No. 1 spot in the Test rankings.
In the first Test at Nagpur, South Africa racked up a mammoth 558. Hashim Amla scored 253 and Jacques Kallis made 173. India were missing a couple of key batsmen but it still looked a strong batting line-up. Virender Sehwag scored a fine hundred but all the others became victims of Steyn's terrific spell.The right-arm pacer was absolutely brilliant as he ran through the Indian batting line-up one after the other. Barring Sehwag, no other Indian batsman had an answer to the pace and swing that Steyn exhibited. He picked up 7/50 as India were shot out for 233. Steyn picked up another three wickets in the second essay and helped South Africa win by an innings and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
6/8 v Pakistan, Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, 1-4 February 2013
Dale Steyn's best bowling spell of his Test career came in 2013 against Pakistan at Johannesburg. While Pakistan was following the score of 253 posted by South Africa, Steyn caused carnage on the field. The pacer destroyed Pakistan's batting line-up by giving just eight runs and picking six wickets. Pakistan collapsed at 49 in their first batting innings. Though the visitors performed well in the last innings of the game, it wasn't enough as South Africa won the match by 211 runs.
5/87, 5/67, 76 v Australia, Melbourne Cricket Ground, 26-30 December 2008
Arguably the best all-round performance in the history of Test cricket was delivered by South Africa's pace merchant at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia in December 2010. The first innings of the iconic match saw Steyn sending five Australian batters back to the pavilion while conceding just 87 runs. In the second innings, the veteran contributed with the willow as he scored 76 runs to help South Africa take a lead by 65 runs. It was followed by another blistering performance as in the third innings, Steyn again picked five wickets while giving 67 runs. The right-hander's contribution both with bat and ball ensured that South Africa registered a victory by nine wickets.
5/51 vs England – Johannesburg (2010)
England were leading the four-match Test series in 2009-2010 in South Africa when the teams reached Johannesburg for the final Test match. They were 1-0 up. However, South Africa bounced back on the back of Steyn's heroics.
After opting to bat first, England were blown away by Steyn who had Morne Morkel on his side for company. Steyn took 5/51 as England were bowled out for just 180 in their first innings. Morkel took three wickets in that innings to play second fiddle to Steyn. South Africa scored 423 and took a huge lead. Steyn took a couple more wickets in the second innings and wrapped up the Test match and helped the Proteas level the series.
5/47 vs New Zealand – Centurion (2006)
This was Steyn's fourth Test match and he hadn't scalped more than two wickets in an innings. However, in this game against New Zealand which was the first Test of the series, he registered his maiden fifer.
South Africa scored 276 in the first innings and New Zealand fought back with 327. The Proteas scored 299 which set the Kiwis a target of 249. Steyn who had taken two key wickets in the first innings opened the bowling with Makhaya Ntini. While the latter picked up the first three wickets, the young Steyn joined in and the duo ran through the New Zealand batting order giving South Africa a win. Steyn took 5/47, which was his maiden five-wicket haul in international cricket.