Amla in awe of Steyn

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Fast bowler Dale Steyn stood at the fore of captain Hashim Amla's appreciation, after South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 153 runs on day five of the first Test at the Galle International Stadium on Sunday.

Fast bowler Dale Steyn stood at the fore of captain Hashim Amla's appreciation, after South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 153 runs on day five of the first Test at the Galle International Stadium on Sunday.

Steyn completed telling match figures of nine for 99, affording the Proteas a maiden victory in the longest format of the international game in this country – and a vital lead in the two-fixture series.

"Dale's figures speak for themselves, he bowled excellently. The lengths he bowled, the pace, the aggression – a great performance from a great bowler. I could look in the dictionary for a million adjectives to describe him, but I think it suffices to say that it was a great performance by a great bowler," enthused Amla.

Pace ace Steyn was understandably named Man of the Match – but was well supported by fellow right-armer Morne Morkel, who snared three victims in the first innings and four in the second. All-rounder Vernon Philander went without breakthrough, but was economical throughout.

"The bowlers were really hungry – Dale and Morne asked for the ball regularly, which was brilliant. We picked up a few early wickets which made it a lot easier to maintain the pressure. Steyn, Morkel, Philander, I can call them at any time and they will give 100 percent," added Amla.

"They're the best. On surfaces like this you can't rely on one bowler. The others did well too. It was a group effort. On a different day, a glove, a top edge could have gone."

Complementary centuries from the left-handed Dean Elgar and JP Duminy – and a quickfire half-ton from wicketkeeper-batsman AB de Villiers – allowed Amla twin declarations. The Sri Lankans were bowled out twice.

"We had a really good game. The batting really set it up in the first innings, it would have been quite difficult to bat last here on this wicket. The way that the bowlers rallied around worked out really well," concluded Amla.

"Naturally the thought was there that we could lose the game. The uncertainty is the exciting part about it. If we lost the game I wouldn't have any regrets about declaring at 370. I wanted to have as many overs to bowl to win the game. It's not easy batting last on this wicket and I just wanted to get as many overs as possible, if you lose the game so be it."

The second and final Test will get underway at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo on Thursday.

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