Dale Steyn celebrates the wicket of Murali Vijay on day two of the second Test, December 27. Reuters
Dale Steyn, in a Test and a bit, had looked like a medium pacer that you just see pretty much all the time and shrug and say: OK, he is not such a big deal, what's all the fuss about?
But then, it was always going to be just a matter of time before this truly great fast bowler, this one tearaway quick that has sent shivers down the spines of many a batsman in modern-day cricket on a consistent basis, found his mojo; and to India's detriment it happened to be on the second day of the second Test in Durban.
Steyn was quick, scary, lethal and just plain brilliant as the batters, who dominated the proceedings on day one, just found no answer to the South African quickie's relentless attack.
The result of Steyn's masterful six-wicket day, a day which began after an over three-hour delay due to rain, was India getting bowled out for 334 in 111.3 overs, after beginning the day with an overnight score of 181 for one in 60 overs.
South Africa made light work of the final 20 overs, easing to 82 for no loss, trailing by 252 runs, with the openers Graeme Smith (34 n.o., 57b, 5x4) and Alviro Petersen (46 n.o., 61b, 7x4) looking quite good in the middle.
It was not turn-the-screws-on-South-Africa day two for India, as the visitors, after that big delay, struggled to continue the momentum created so admirably on the opening day.
It only took South Africa 6.3 overs and 17 runs to pick up the first wicket, which opened up the floodgates for the rest of the wicket train to fall.
Steyn (six for 100), so disappointing in the first Test and also on the opening day, was all fired up, and sensing the vulnerability amongst the India batsmen on a pitch which had a bit of moisture, the ace predator in Test cricket came to the fore.
First, a peach of an in-swinger which then deviated marginally away off the seam found the outside edge of Cheteshwar Pujara (70, 132b, 9x4), who was only ever going to get out to a near unplayable delivery.
That ended a brilliant 157-run partnership for the second wicket, and seven balls later Steyn had his second wicket of the morning, albeit a bit of a lucky one, as Murali Vijay (97, 226b, 18x4), three short of his hundred, gloved one down the leg side to AB De Villiers.
It was time for Rohit Sharma, out of sorts in the first Test, to stand up, but a complete misjudgement of length and line led to his middle stump taking a walk - a golden duck for the India batsman, who had made such a great start to Test cricket, and a third wicket for the irresistible Steyn.
India went from an overnight score of 181 for one to 199 for four in the blink of an eye, and the away side, in desperate need of a partnership got one in the shape of in-the-form-of-his-life Virat Kohli and nice-and-compact Ajinkya Rahane.
The two put on 66 in 23.3 overs to push India out of a possibly precarious position, but Kohli, just when he looked primed for another big score, fell a little before Tea.
India batsman Virat Kohli cannot hide his disappointment after being dismissed just short of another half-century, December 27. Ron Gaunt/BCCI/SPORTZPICS
A ball down the leg side was helped off the face of the bat by Kohli (46, 87b, 5x4), with De Villiers springing to his left to complete a fabulous catch, and with it leaving the batsman walking back with an oh-man-how-could-I-be-so-unlucky expression.
Rahane, at the other end, was playing an attritional Test match innings, staying tight in defence, while copping a blow or two from a fired-up Steyn - that helmet of the Mumbaikar being put into good use.
Dhoni came in and gave Rahane good company to Tea, where India scored 90 runs for the loss of five wickets, and a little after, with the duo putting on 55 for the sixth wicket.
However, South Africa were aware it was just about breaking this partnership and they would be into the tail - Ravindra Jadeja, after all, has never convinced as a batsman in Test, or indeed, international cricket.
After a decent stay, Dhoni's patience, after 40 deliveries and 24 runs ran out, chasing a carrot-delivery wide outside off and managing only to edge one to Graeme Smith in the slips.
It was easy-peasy from there for South Africa, as JP Duminy got amongst the wicket, dismissing I-have-scored-two-triple-centuries-in-domestic-cricket-but-can't-batin-Tests Jadeja, who edged one to Jacques Kallis at slip for the South African all-rounder's 200th Test match catch.
Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma came and went back soon enough, Steyn, as deadly as he can be, of course, getting them for his fifth and sixth wicket, with Mohammed Shami finally falling to Morne Morkel.
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