Fresh from the media pointing out after day one that the Proteas spearhead had bowled 67 consecutive overs without any reward, a fired-up Steyn made amends for Thursday's mediocrity by charging his way through the India batting order like a wounded rhino.
That Jacques Kallis' final ever Test match runs the risk of fizzling out into a damp squib of a draw is a rotten shame, but there is no science to timing the retirement of any great career, in any field of expertise.
Fortunately for Kallis and his team, Dale Steyn came to the rescue and the game is back in the balance. Fresh from the media pointing out after day one that the Proteas spearhead had bowled 67 consecutive overs without any reward, a fired-up Steyn made amends for Thursday's mediocrity by charging his way through the India batting order like a wounded rhino.
After the start was delayed by over three hours due to rain, Steyn took six for 100 in a ruthless display of fast bowling as India collapsed from 198 for one to 334 all out. Steyn is fearsome when he has the bit between his teeth and is absolutely terrifying when he gets angry – Friday brought both and there was little that India could do to counter the well-directed aggression as Steyn took three for 19 in his first spell of the day with the old ball and then three for 13 in his last spell of the day, again with an old ball.
Whilst the draw is still the most likely outcome in this match, the staggering collapse has meant that South Africa have gone from a position of having almost no control over the course of the match to one where a home win is probably the second most likely outcome. Only 10 wickets have fallen in two days and it seems to take exceptionally good bowling or bad batting to manufacture dismissals.
With the knowledge that the pitch resembles the N3 motorway to Johannesburg and that India likely wasted a rare opportunity to score big in foreign conditions and put the hosts under pressure, openers Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen raced to a run-a-ball start before some probing bowling from the Indian quicks reined them in a little. South Africa are 82 without loss, 252 runs behind the Indian first-innings tally.
Cheteshwar Pujara (70) was Steyn's first scalp and in his next over he took two in two balls as Murali Vijay (97) faltered after facing 47 deliveries in the nervous 90s and then Rohit Sharma was bowled first ball as he left one that took out his middle stump. Virat Kohli (46), Ajinkya Rehane (51 not out) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (24) saved India from collapsing in a heap but their total was nevertheless sub-par for the conditions. Morne Morkel (three for 50) was South Africa's only other standout bowler on a surface where Vernon Philander made no impact and Kallis bowled 13 overs without reward.
The weather in Durban is unpredictable. Only drizzle was forecast on the morning of the second day but the rain did not abate until after lunch. On day one bad light intervened five minutes after tea but on day two we were able to play on for a full hour after the scheduled close of play at 17:00 local time. Rain is forecast at various times over all of the next three days, but in these parts that does not mean it is sure to arrive. Strangely, more overs were bowled on the rainy day two than on day one, where sun was overtaken by cloud.
The timing of Kallis' retirement means that he is unlikely to achieve various runs and wickets milestones, but when he snaffled a slip catch off JP Duminy's bowling and the edge of Ravindra Jadeja's bat, he claimed his 200th Test catch, the highest of any South African fielder.
Play is again scheduled to start 30 minutes early on day three and South Africa will eye a lead by the end of the day. If inclement weather stays away from Kingsmead then we could be in for a humdinger of a Test match.
<b>Nick Sadleir at Kingsmead</b>
Morgan took some time before deciding to continue as England captain.
The sixth batsman, Tom Banton and the death bowlers…
Waugh also believes Australia’s bowlers would have the edge on home soil.
Du Plessis has skippered the Proteas in 112 internationals.
Eoin Morgan’s gone all early 90s Dutch Eurodance on us.
Just a really good series.
Special praise for CJ.
Better than only selling a Hundred tickets.
England win by a whopping two runs.