Cricket: World No1 bowler Steyn as hungry as ever

The fire still burns within South African pace king Dale Steyn.

He brought up his 300 test wickets late in the New Zealand second innings at Newlands on Friday, joining Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Allan Donald as South Africa's elite test wicket takers.

He is the world's No1 ranked bowler, with good reason.

Steyn is the leader of the games' best fast trio, backed up by No 2-ranked Vernon Philander, nipping at his heels, and No 8 Morne Morkel.

That said, after the test, in which Philander won the man of the match award for his seven wickets, continuing a stunning run of success since his debut in late 2011, Steyn quipped "I think he's better", nodding to Philander on his left.

Steyn is 29, and a Rolls Royce of a fast bowler. He possesses a fine action, piles of pace and a hawk-like eye for the chance to turn the screws on batsmen.

"I am fortunate I've been blessed with a smooth action, but there's still a lot of work goes into it," he said.

"I guess I pick and choose the times I need to force speed, to force extended spells."

He is chuffed to have made the 300 mark but was quick to point out "I've got another test to play in Port Elizabeth, a lot more wickets to take. There's a few more years in these legs and arms".

He is matter-of-fact on his success rate since his debut in Durban in 2004 against England.

"I play a lot of games bowl a lot of overs for South Africa and I'm always under the impression that if you do that you're going to get wickets," he said.

Being part of the formidable trio is "awesome eh". Steyn says there's now no leader among the trio.

"Graeme speaks about [how] the bowlers have to lead from the front.

"When I have the ball in my hand I try to set the tone. Every time somebody is given the ball they've stepped up to the plate and delivered. This attack is led by no one."

And Steyn, who admits occasional grumpiness is no bad thing in helping wind him up to strive for success, made no bones about his pride in the current South African team.

"This is an incredible team to be part of right now. Apart from my own game I'm just happy I am among some serious cricketers in the dressing room."

The numbers look like this: Steyn has played 61 tests, taken 304 wickets at 23.68; Philander has played 13 tests, and taken 74 wickets at 17.4; Morkel has played 46 tests and taken 168 wickets at 29.86.

 - By David Leggat of the NZ Herald in Cape Town