Eyeing summit, Steyn primed for Boxing Day
Firebrand fast bowler Dale Steyn will seek to become South Africa's greatest wicket-taker in Tests when they take on Pakistan in the first match of a three-game series at Centurion Park in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Steyn is level with former all-rounder Shaun Pollock on 421 Test wickets and, having played only six Tests in the last three years due to injury, has been left tantalisingly close to capturing the outright top spot on the list for some time.
With injuries to seamers Vernon Philander and Lungi Ngidi, Steyn is likely to be given the new ball against Pakistan along with Kagiso Rabada on what is expected to be a lively wicket in Pretoria.
He will test the visiting batsmen having returned to his express pace of old in recent limited-overs contests, where he impressed against Australia last month.
Captain Faf du Plessis told reporters this week that Steyn was the country's greatest fast bowler and suggested that while the 2019 Cricket World Cup might be his limited-overs swansong, he still had a good few years of Test cricket in him.
"Test matches are what really drive me to perform," Steyn recently told South African online publication Sport24. "If I can carry on playing Test cricket for as long as possible that will be great.
"There is plenty of T20 cricket going on at the moment because that is where the money is at but I think that people will always know that Test cricket is the real deal. I love the red-ball game."
Pakistan, who have won only one Test series out of 10 at home and away against South Africa, will have been buoyed by their three-day run-out against an Invitational XI in the build-up to the first Test, where Azhar Ali and Babar Azam made hundreds.