Dale Steyn set to make South African bowling history against Pakistan in Boxing Day Test
Dale Steyn needs one wicket to surpass Shaun Pollock. © AFP

Fast bowler Dale Steyn needs one wicket to become the most successful bowler for South Africa, heading into the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan at Centurion from Wednesday.

Steyn, 35, is level on Shaun Pollock with 421 Test wickets having played just six Tests in the past three years owing to injuries.

South Africa will also be without fast bowlers Lungi Ngidi because of a long-term knee injury and Vernon Philander with a broken finger, but veteran 88-Test veteran Steyn bowled with good pace and rhythm in the recent Mzansi Super League, as did fellow spearhead Kagiso Rabada. Duanne Olivier, who will be South Africa’s third seamer, was the top wicket-taker in the T20 league and had match figures of 7/54 in a losing cause in a franchise match last week.

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The loss of Philander will add extra workload for Steyn, who is by far the most experienced seamer in the South African squad.

Steyn has claims to being the the greatest fast bowler of his generation, with a strike-rate of 42 and success all around the globe. His strike-rate is the lowest for all fast bowlers with 200 wickets since 2000 and with 421 wickets in this period he is the third most successful fast bowler behind James Anderson (565) and Stuart Broad (433) but who have higher averages.

In 2008, Steyn reached the pinnacle of the ICC Test bowler rankings and occupied the slot for a record 263 weeks. He became the second South African bowler to claim 400 Test wickets in record time, but a series of injuries over the past few years have slowed his progress to Pollock’s mark.