Dale Steyn became South Africa’s leading test wicket-taker while fellow paceman Duanne Olivier took 6-37 as Pakistan was bowled out for 181 on the opening day of the three-match series on Wednesday.
Steyn picked up his 422nd wicket, going past Shaun Pollock’s record, but it was Olivier who broke the back of Pakistan’s batting with career-best figures.
Olivier was only in South Africa’s team after Vernon Philander and Lungi Ngidi were ruled out by injury.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed opted to bat after winning the toss and only Babar Azam provided any resistance with 71. He shared a 67-run partnership with Hasan Ali for the ninth wicket to save his team from a complete capitulation.
South Africa barely needed Keshav Maharaj, using the spinner for just three overs as the three pacemen did the damage, reinforcing the pre-series predictions that Pakistan’s biggest challenge would be standing up to the home team’s fast bowlers.
Top-ranked test bowler Kagiso Rabada claimed 3-59, including the first strike in the second over when Imam-ul-Haq was lbw for a duck.
Steyn then removed the other opener, Fakhar Zaman, when he was caught by Dean Elgar in the slips.
Rabada, South Africa’s new fast-bowling star, lifted the paceman up on to his shoulders. The standing ovation in the crowd at SuperSport Park, where Steyn began his career, continued well past the on-field celebrations and was still going when he prepared to bowl his next delivery.
“I won’t lie, when I was standing there at the top of my mark and everyone was standing up, I almost had a tear, I had a lump in my throat,” Steyn said. “Very pleased. Very happy.”
Pollock, who was commentating on television, was one of the first to congratulate him as he came off the field for the lunch break and presented Steyn with a bottle of champagne.
“On all different wickets around the world he’s been absolutely superb,” Pollock said, “and what those figures don’t tell is he’s a fantastic guy as well.”
The 35-year-old Steyn’s record was a long time coming, after he sustained a career-threatening shoulder injury in 2016. He has played just four tests in the last two years.
Steyn is up to 11th on the all-time list of test wicket-takers, nine behind Richard Hadlee. In an indicator of his quality, his 422 wickets have come in 89 games. One of South Africa’s greats, Pollock’s 421 came in 108 tests.
Source: The Associated Press