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South Africa v Pakistan, 1st Test, Centurion

Dale Steyn becomes South Africa's highest wicket-taker

South Africa news

Dale Steyn went ahead of Shaun Pollock to become South Africa's highest wicket-taker, when he picked up his 422nd Test wicket against Pakistan in the Boxing Day Test at Centurion.

Steyn, 35, sent back Fakhar Zaman in the seventh over of the day on Wednesday, 26 December, eliciting an edge that was caught by Dean Elgar at slip.

It reduced Pakistan to 17/2 and his home crowd at SuperSport Park got to their feet and applauded.

While Shaun Pollock needed 108 Tests to get to 421 wickets, Steyn broke the record in his 89th match.

Most wickets for South Africa

Bowler Matches Innings Wickets 5wI 10wM
Dale Steyn* 89* 162 422* 26 5
Shaun Pollock 108 202 421 16 1
Makhaya Ntini 101 190 390 18 4
Allan Donald 72 129 330 20 3
Morne Morkel 86 160 309 8 0


He is just outside the top 10 for all-time wicket-takers, behind Richard Hadlee's 431.

It has been a long wait for the pacer to get to the South Africa record. He reached 400 Test wickets in July 2015, in 80 games – making him the joint quickest to get there, along with Hadlee and only behind Muttiah Muralitharan. Since then, however, his career has been plagued by injury. He has played just nine Tests since that match against Bangladesh, having to limp off on a few occasions.

Quickest to 400 wickets

Player Representing Time taken Matches
Muttiah Muralitharan Sri Lanka 9y 137d 72
Richard Hadlee New Zealand 17y 0d 80
Dale Steyn South Africa 10y 225d 80
Rangana Herath Sri Lanka 18y 6d 84
Anil Kumble India 14y 58d 85


Some of Steyn's other records for South Africa:

* He has the most five-wicket hauls in innings – 26 – ahead of Donald's 20

* His five 10-wicket hauls is the most for South Africa, although young Kagiso Rabada, with four, is quickly catching up.

* No other player in the world has as many wickets at Centurion: 56 from just nine games before this one, and counting. Ntini is behind him with 54 scalps there from 10 matches.

Among the stand-out figures for the 'Phalaborwa Express' is his strike-rate, which is the best for anyone who has played more than 35 matches. Overall, he stands sixth on the list, striking every 42 balls.

Best strike-rates (before the Boxing Day Test)

Player Country Matches Wickets Ave SR
George Lohmann England 18 112 10.75 34.1
John Ferris Australia/England 9 61 12.7 37.7
Shane Bond New Zealand 18 87 22.09 38.7
Kagiso Rabada* South Africa 32* 151 21.71 39.3
Sydney Barnes England 27 189 16.43 41.6
Dale Steyn* South Africa 88* 421 22.64 42


A fighter to the core, Steyn isn't resting easy on his laurels. He's spoken of aiming for 500 Test wickets and, ahead of his big day, he had said: "I haven’t saved myself just to take one more wicket than Polly (Pollock). There is a bigger goal at the end of the day.

"I will be highly honoured, but I will get back to my mark and try to take the next one." And indeed, he did.



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