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Du Plessis hints at Steyn return in first Sri Lanka Test

Dale Steyn last played for the Proteas in the first Test match against India at Newlands in Cape Town in January before breaking down with a heel injury.

South African bowler Dale Steyn (C) appeals unsuccessfully for an LBW decision against Australian batsman Ed Cowan (L) on day three of the first cricket Test between South Africa and Australia at the Gabba ground in Brisbane on 11 November 2012. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Proteas Captain Faf du Plessis has hinted at a possible Test return for Dale Steyn who is on the cusp of breaking Shaun Pollock’s most Test wickets record for South Africa.

Steyn, who has been plagued by injury in recent years, last played for the Proteas in the first Test match against India at Newlands in Cape Town in January before breaking down with a heel injury.

The veteran seamer is just three wickets shy of Pollock’s record of 421 Test wickets and could surpass the former Proteas skipper in that regard should he play in the first Test against Sri Lanka starting on Thursday in Galle.

Du Plessis says that they are pondering the composition of their match XI and Steyn could feature in a three-man seam attack.

“We had a look at the wicket and it is quite dry. The decision we have to make is whether we play seven batsmen and two spinners, but we also believe that our three seamers on a dry pitch can get the wickets.”

The dry pitch conditions mean that the ball will wear off very quickly and reverse swing will come into play, an aspect that Steyn has excelled in the past for South Africa and could put him in a great position for selection in Galle.

“Dale’s ex-factor is how he picks how wickets with the reverse swinging ball. The way he’s gotten wickets in the last while has been movement with the new ball, but there is a period in the game where Dale gets his tail up and gets reverse swing. He is up there with the most dangerous bowlers in the world.”

After the completion of the first Test in Galle, the series moves to Colombo for the second and final Test match. A five-match ODI series ensues straight after, with a lone T20 International the final match of the tour.

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