South African pacer Dale Steyn believes that he is slowly getting back to his physical best after his match-winning performance led the visitors to a six-wicket win over Australia in the first ODI at Perth.Steyn, who is playing just his third international game post injury, finished with figures of two for 18 in his spell. He led the attack with a potent spell and along with Andile Phehlukwayo, Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir, bowled out Australia for a mere 152.
“It was good to finish a game without breaking down in Australia,” Steyn said at the post match presentation. “It was a good wicket to bowl on, and the captain decided we were going to bowl first if we won the toss.”
“I knew if we bowled well we could get any team out. I would take any wicket in ODI cricket. When left-handers are batting the ball kind of slips out, but in ODIs, I’ll take any wicket.”
“I played county cricket, but international cricket is a whole lot different. We know how Finch and Lynn are bullies in county cricket. So I’ve only just started out again in international cricket, but I’m getting there, slowly but surely. Happy with my performance nonetheless, and hopefully there’s a lot more to come from us.”
South African captain Faf du Plessis was happy with his side’s overall performance but lamented that they were not clinical in cleaning up the Australian batting in the first innings.
“We were exceptional with the ball and in the field and did everything right. There was some counter-punching at the end, but a good day at the office overall.”
Speaking of the bowlers, the skipper said, “Great to have Steyn back. All the bowlers today were great. It’s great as a captain to have such X-factor in the bowling attack and they made sure to take advantage of the conditions.
“The openers batted very maturely and made sure they got the job done. We got ourselves into a good position. We could have been a little more clinical, but we’ll take this any way.”
Australia captain Aaron Finch reckoned that the team did not play up to their potential. The hosts suffered their seventh consecutive defeat in ODIs – their worst run in the format ever and haven’t won against the Proteas in six previous clashes.
“We didn’t play anywhere near our potential. South Africa bowled extremely well and put us at a disadvantage early. It is a great opportunity to improve. We have been training well, but all we can do at this point is review the game and keep improving so that we can do better in Adelaide.
“We were a bit careless at times in the first innings. We were off the mark slowly. If you’re defending 152, then nothing can go wrong with the ball. Unfortunately for us, Quinton and Reeza got off to a flier, and there was little we could do from there. Felt like the SA bowlers were all over us at times and all the credit to them. We’re going to come back stronger next match.”
First Published: November 4, 2018, 7:02 PM IST