It took fast bowling of the highest quality from Steyn, the sort of intense, destructive spell that he and so few other fast bowlers are capable of at Test level.
Steyn’s quick mopping up of the West Indies second innings has ensured some extra, much-needed rest for a South African side that was beleaguered by injury during their first Test in four months.
“We’re glad to have an extra one-and-a-half days rest because this felt like a long Test, being the first one we have played in a long time. I was surprised by how quickly the match finished, I didn’t expect to get seven wickets in the session, but the pitch was getting quite difficult to bat on and it was exceptional bowling from Dale. Any team in the world would have found him very difficult to handle today,” Amla said after winning his first Test at home as captain in the most convincing fashion.
“We were standing behind the stumps, AB de Villiers and I, and we could feel that things were going to happen after he hit the left-hander [Leon Johnson] early on. The pitch had quickened up and when Dale gets a sniff he runs through teams, we’ve seen it many, many times before. We’re just glad he’s on our side … “ Amla added.
Steyn had gone wicket-less in the first innings and, although he denied he was particularly striving to make up for it, there seemed a determination and an extra intensity about his performance on Saturday morning.
“I’m never upset as long as we bowl the opposition out and then I’m happy. I thought Vernon [Philander] and Morne [Morkel] bowled beautifully yesterday and even Dean Elgar got a wicket, which made me a bit bummed!
“There was nothing special about today, maybe I was a bit more consistent with my line and length and I got rewarded. Some days you find the edge, other days you go past it, that’s cricket. I deserved it today, but yesterday I didn’t.
“The ball came out nicely and today I got the first edge and then you tend to make the batsman play more and get on a roll,” Steyn said.
The world’s number one fast bowler also gave credit to the fantastic catching behind the wicket, with Alviro Petersen a stand-out at second slip.
For their part, West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin said his team are going to have to show more application if they are going to keep the series alive in Port Elizabeth from Boxing Day.
“We need more application, it was disappointing the way the batsmen got out once they had got starts. It’s very important for us to bat longer sessions, we have to be smart, leave the ball alone, sway away, myself included. We’re up against a very good bowling attack, number one in the world, and they hit very good areas. They don’t give many opportunities and it’s very difficult to get starts on these pitches,” Ramdin said.
In terms of application and skill, the West Indies can do no better than to try and emulate Amla (208) and De Villiers (152), whose record partnership set up South Africa’s impressive victory.