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Dale Steyn is the second-highest wicket-taker for South Africa in Tests Getty Images

What makes a pacer ideal? Well, some may say the ability to stick to the right line and length while generating consistent pace. That is basic, no doubts there. But what makes him even more ferocious and lethal is the attitude and this is what that makes Dale Steyn stand apart from his contemporaries. It seemed like a crunch competition in the beginning, with Steyn counter-attacking Australia with their patented weapon aggression. The kangaroos, infamous for sledging and extravagant body languages on the field can only look faded in front of a very few, Steyn belonging to that rare league of cricketers. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, 1st Test at WACA, Perth

Test cricket is very sadly generalised to be a game for and of the calm-headed. The heat should be there, to win a battle playing continuously for five days. The heat is there in The Ashes, and that is what keeps it alive and much-wanted across the globe and not only in England and Australia. Steyn s intriguing quotes of getting the head of the snake intimidated the opposition and the world awaited a clash of sheer class between the Proteas bowling spearhead and the Aussie leader.

South Africa posted a par score of 242 against Australia at the WACA ground, Perth. Mitchell Starc picked up 4 wickets coming back to the side after an injury, showing why he is a pivotal member of the squad. Josh Hazlewood bagged 3 wickets, Quinton de Kock again played a crucial knock and maintained his form but the most interesting part was yet to come Steyn vs Smith.

Day One remained mundane for the visitors bowlers. Steyn did a few things wrong on the first day, but not on the second day morning. David Warner and Shaun Marsh built up a solid partnership, taking Australia to 105 without loss at stumps of Day One. The hunger was growing and Steyn had to do something the next morning.

Dale Steyn removed David Warner for 97 and celebrated in his usual style    Getty Images
Dale Steyn removed David Warner for 97 and celebrated in his usual style Getty Images

It seemed only fitting for Steyn to give his side the first breakthrough of the innings. It was like a cycle being completed. Steyn spoke of getting Warner and Smith early on to bundle the hosts cheaply, Warner replied with a brilliant knock while Steyn got back to him, removing him for 97.

What followed was a delight for any South Africa fan a typical Dale-Steyn-celebration. A good delivery and as Warner tried to push it lightly, it landed in a diving Hashim Amla s hands in the slip cordon. Steyn completed his follow-through, and there it was the shout, and Faf du Plessis coming up to him and hugging him. It was like a hungry lion s roar after a long-awaited prey.

But the next few overs were a nightmare for South Africa fans. After releasing a delivery to Usman Khawaja, Steyn sat down in his follow-through, holding the same shoulder that was operated recently, and kept him out for a very long period. The ever-pumped-up bowler sat down calmly, holding his shoulder, in some severe pain. Amla and du Plessis called in for medical assistance without wasting any time and Steyn left the field subsequently with a pain-stricken face. READ: Dale Steyn ruled out of South Africa’s tour of Australia due to fracture in shoulder

Steyn has a long history of injury which started from late 2015, persisting for almost a year now. The string of injuries kept him on and off. Fitness is among the top-most priorities of a pacer and on the contrary, they tend to injure themselves the most. Promising careers including those of Shaun Tait and Shane Bond have been hampered due to injuries and now, it is Steyn whose future is at stake thanks to his rotating cuff muscle injury.

Needless to say, a very few could lead a bowling attack the way Steyn has done it for South Africa in the past years. The bowler is the backbone of the attack and irrespective of opponent, the team has fallen back upon him for breaking partnerships, producing breakthrough on pitches not so supportive towards bowlers and so on. Steyn seldom disappointed. He has won Tests for South Africa on flattest of wickets; there are hardly a few in that category.

Steyn was among the biggest hopes for South Africa to complete their hat-trick in Australia, not only because he is the second most successful of the bowlers produced by the African country in Tests, but also because Australia as an opponent and as a hosting nation are both Steyn s favourites. After his home soil, Steyn has the most number of Test wickets in Australia while most of his wickets in the format came against the same opponents.

Losing the leading bowler in the very first Test was the last thing the team must have wanted. But what was the silver-lining was how the bowlers performed. They finished the work that Steyn had initiated, maintaining a disciplined bowling. Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada together bagged 6 wickets while debutant Keshav Maharaj bagged 3 wickets.

Dale Steyn being taken out of the field after experiencing a niggle in the shoulder    Getty Images
Dale Steyn being taken out of the field after experiencing a niggle in the shoulder Getty Images

It is very ironical how the Day Two of the first Test between Australia and South Africa proceeded to that of the current state of the South Africa team. Steyn guided, and departed for an uncertain period but his team did not stray from the path. Instead, they carried forward what they had seen and learnt from the exceptionally talented player, and completed the task.

Being a South Africa fan, it is a good news that the team is learning to work without Steyn. Over-dependency on a particular cricketer is never a positive aspect of a team, and the fact that the team is doing well despite not having their driving force around are signs of a positive growth.

But again, a big share of loving South Africa is due to Steyn, whose passion for the game cannot but make you love him as a player. A Steyn fan fears of his worth in the team going down with every success that the team tastes without him; a South Africa fan feels proud to see the team shine even without the leading pacer.

PS: As per the recent reports, Steyn has suffered a fracture in his shoulder and has been ruled out for six months. Wishing the pacer’s speedy recovery.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)