The Wanderers pitch is not easy for batsmen but South Africa boast an amazing bowling attack, Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore said after his team had been bundled out for a record-breaking low of 49 on the second day of the first Test on Saturday.
Pakistan’s total is their lowest ever in Test cricket, worse than their 53 against Australia in Sharjah in 2002/3, and South Africa’s lead is already 411 after they reached stumps on 207 for three in their second innings.
“It’s not an easy wicket to bat on but the way South Africa bowled was incredible. I have not seen two hours of relentless, incredible pace bowling as I witnessed today. Most of our batsmen got out to terrific balls and you really need to give credit to the opposition.
“If you look at the facts and not emotion, then the reason for our score was a combination of a difficult pitch and incredible bowling,” Whatmore said.
While the former Sri Lanka and Bangladesh coach admitted that he felt the pitch was too difficult for the second day of a Test, he declined to comment on the inconsistent application of the HotSpot technology by third umpire Steve Davis that saw every decision using that camera go against Pakistan.
“We’re not meant to speak about that and we’ll make our comments in the right channels,” was all Whatmore would say, but the animated discussion he and manager Naveed Cheema had with match referee Jeff Crowe after the end of play suggests the International Cricket Council should expect a complaint from Pakistan.
But it did not detract at all from Steyn’s magnificence or South Africa’s dominance.
The world’s number one ranked bowler said it was just one of those days when he was able to hit his stride from the outset.
“We had spoken about the morning being the best time to strike at the Wanderers and I woke up early today, Skyped the missus in LA and dominated our morning game of footie … I just had so much energy today, the ball was coming out sweetly and it was a lot of fun today,” Steyn said of his phenomenal haul of six for eight in 8.1 overs.
The 29-year-old produced a top-class display of fast swing bowling and he said a pep talk from captain Graeme Smith, who is leading a Test team for an unprecedented 100th time, had helped provide a spark.
“We don’t often have these conversations because you don’t have to tell anyone in this team when they’ve done something wrong, but Graeme sat us down, he felt the urge for just a two-minute chat, and said he wanted a 100% day from us because he didn’t feel yesterday was a 100% effort.
“The ball swung more as it got older, but the new ball swung a decent amount too and the pitch obviously assisted as well.”
Steyn brushed aside the Pakistan top-order with three wickets in his first two overs on Saturday and he said that had pleased him the most.
“For the first time in a long while, I got the first three wickets and was able to break through early. I was pretty stoked about that.”
Whatmore praised Steyn for the way he led a marvellous South African bowling unit.
“He’s one of four seamers who never took the pressure off, we scored 34 runs in two hours, about 25 overs, which is unheard of. His skill level plus that of the other three is amazing,” Whatmore said.