Proteas attack amongst Test cricket’s best ever

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Dale Steyn's five-fer has been overshadowed by Vernon Philander's other work with the ball. (Image: AAP/Dave Hunt)

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Pakistan’s humiliation of being bowled out for 49 in South Africa this week is a pain that many countries around the world know all too well.

Less than 18-months ago Australia was routed in South Africa for 47, while the Proteas win in the third test in Perth this summer can be put down to their second innings bowling efforts.

Their current pace lineup of Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Kallis is surely the most feared in the world, with perhaps only England having similar talent and depth.

The most impressive aspect of South Africa’s attack is the way they bowl as a unit.

Dale Steyn is the leader: aggressive, fast and accurate and superbly complemented by the height and bounce of Morne Morkel, and the swing of Vernon Philander and Jacques Kallis.

In the first two tests this summer, Steyn seemed slightly off his game, and Morkel was able to step up.

Bowling a tight line and length, he took the reins as Graeme Smith’s go to man until Steyn found his mojo. And find it he did with a brilliant game in the third and deciding test.

Michael Clarke in the form of his life could do nothing as Steyn was unplayable, proving why he is the worlds greatest quick.

Pakistan have been embarrassed by South Africa’s pace quartet, an attack that has been described by Allan Donald, perhaps the greatest paceman the Proteas have produced, as the best their country has seen.

The West Indies attack of Holding, Marshall, Croft, Garner, Walsh, Ambrose and co. of the 1980s – early 90s is incomparable.

But South Africa’s current line-up is up there with other modern day great partnerships – McGrath, Gillespie, Lee; Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis; Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock.

South Africa as a team are superb to watch. Smith is an astute and ultra-competitive leader, Hasham Amla’s has a near flawless batting technique, their middle order of De Villiers, du Plessis and Duminy is quality in all forms of the game.

The Proteas pace bowling unit ensures they are never out of a contest. The only part of the line-up yet to be fully established is that of a world-class spinner, with Imran Tahir completely dominated in Australia.

The fact the Proteas could not be swayed to play in Australian crickets showpiece event the Boxing Day Test is a great shame, while a one-day and T20 series between the two nations surely to have received bigger crowds than the Sri Lankan and West Indians encounters have delivered.

South Africa have their own summer of cricket to grow, so their reasons for wishing to play a home series against New Zealand is understandable.

The three Test matches played here however left the Australian cricket public wanting more, and the rest of the summer has not really lived up to the same standards.

The next time the two countries meet could be the June Champions Trophy, however the next red ball cricket will most likely be an Australian tour to the Republic.

Hopefully Australia’s side is more settled by then, and we are talking about Cummins, Pattinson, Siddle and Starc in the same vein as Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Kallis.

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