Vernon Philander and Jacques Kallis have praised their Castle Lager Proteas teammate, Dale Steyn, after he became the fourth South African to take 300 Test wickets during the first Sunfoil Test match against New Zealand at Sahara Park Newlands on Wednesday.
“Dale is a special talent,” Kallis said of the No.1 ranked Steyn. “It is a special moment for him to pick up his 300th wicket in front of his home crowd. I know he is proud of that achievement, as are we. It’s special to stand at slip and to watch how our attack operates.”
Both Philander and Kallis achieved significant milestones during a dominant opening day’s play, which also included Alviro Petersen’s fifth career Test century.
Philander’s eighth career five-for left New Zealand in tatters, with the visitors unable to recover from the 25 balls of menace. His five-for is the fourth fastest of all time, another addition to the several records he has broken since his debut 14 months ago.
Meanwhile, the Proteas’ most capped player became only the fourth batsman to pass the 13 000-run mark, putting him in the company of Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar. A packed Sahara Park Newlands gave Kallis a standing ovation when he reached the landmark, in a gesture that gave him “goosebumps”.
“I have come a long way since the first Test matches I have played,” Kallis said. “I am fortunate enough that I can do it in front of my home crowd, I enjoy playing at Newlands. The public have been fantastic to me, to get an ovation like that certainly means a lot to me and these are special moments that will live forever with me.
Philander praised his new-ball partner for his achievement, which is joint third fastest with Malcolm Marshall and Sir Richard Hadlee. The pair have taken 126 in the 12 matches that they have played together.
“Dale is a phenomenal bowler, he is the World’s number one bowler for a reason. I’m happy for him for getting over that landmark and hopefully he can take a lot more wickets in the future,” he said.
“It has been a great learning curve bowling besides Dale since making my debut. I feed off him quite a lot, especially when I see him charging in at the other end. We work well together and complement each other well,” Philander added.