THE going will only get tougher for Pakistan, Dale Steyn promised on Monday after bowling South Africa to victory in the first Test at the Wanderers.
South Africa won by 211 runs with five sessions of play to spare, which means victory in the second Test, which starts at Newlands on February 14, would clinch the series.
"We want to go to Cape Town and continue this wave of dominating cricket," said Steyn, who claimed match figures of 11/60.
The Proteas won both Tests against New Zealand by an innings this summer and they were never seriously challenged by the Pakistanis. Graeme Smith was mindful of maintaining the high standards that South Africa, the No1 ranked team in Test cricket, had set.
"We’re not going to complain about winning in three or four days," Smith said. "To keep backing up performances is the challenge."
A responsive pitch was Pakistan’s ally on the first day, when they dismissed South Africa for 253. But the tables were turned when the visitors were out for 49 on the second day.
The Proteas declared their second innings closed on 275/3 on Sunday, leaving Pakistan to chase what would have been a world recordwinning score of 480. They were dismissed for 268.
"For a team that comes from Asia, it’s really difficult to handle that sort of bowling," Misbah ul-Haq said of South Africa’s quality pace attack.
His team’s mammoth victory target left them with only one option: "The only thing you can do is bat, bat, bat for as long as you can."
But the Pakistanis, only two of whom have played Test cricket in South Africa before, had been given a better idea of how to deal with South Africa’s bowlers: "We can see that once the new ball is gone we can bat on these pitches."
However many more times they find themselves in the limelight, Steyn, AB de Villiers and Smith will remember the first Test against Pakistan at the Wanderers forever — but for different reasons.
Steyn reached his zenith with a masterful display of swing bowling in the red zone of the speedometer. That gave him a career-best match analysis of 11/60.
De Villiers became the first wicketkeeper in Test history to take 10 catches and score a century –— 103 not out in the second innings — in a match. In fact, he claimed 11 catches to equal the world record set by England’s Jack Russell at the Wanderers in 1995-96.
"I am getting better at it," De Villiers said.
"I’m still not where I want to be, but it’s nice to see some rewards."
He has quelled the argument about whether he is an adequate replacement for Mark Boucher. In this form, and if his troublesome back stays "100%", as he described it on Monday, he is.
The match made Smith the first player to captain a Test team 100 times. But wait. There’s more. South Africa, the world’s No1 team, can lay claim to the world’s No1 batsman in Hashim Amla, the world’s No1 bowler in Steyn and the world’s No1 all-rounder in Jacques Kallis.
And the No1s will not be coming in for a while yet — their time is a long way from up.