Melbourne, Nov.25 : South Africa's snarling pacer Dale Steyn is expected to give Australian opener Matthew Hayden a torrid time in next month''s marquee Test series. Pace ace Dale Steyn, 25, has already passed Allan Donald as the quickest South African to 100 Test wickets with an intoxicating blend of pure pace, aggression and swing.
In 26 Tests, he has 135 wickets at a superstar average of 22.08, having claimed nine, five-wicket hauls and twice finished with 10 wickets for a match.
Australia has never had to confront Steyn and his battle with an out-of-form Hayden who has always tried to impose himself on the new-ball bowlers, regardless of reputation.
Former South African captain and opening batsman Kepler Wessels, who also played 24 Tests for Australia, believes Steyn will test Hayden''s footwork and reflexes. "It is pretty tough when you get older but what you lose in, I suppose, reflexes and reaction time, you make up for in other things," he said. "It is difficult. You have got to probably work harder at that stage of your career than you probably did earlier on and you have to prepare very well," The Courier Mail quoted Wessels, as saying.
Hayden, 37, has struggled for runs since the start of the recent Indian tour and did not have a productive opening to the home summer when he was out for eight and a golden duck against New Zealand at the Gabba.
Hayden plays his 100th Test in Adelaide starting on Friday against the Kiwis.
But the South African encounter, starting on the bouncy Perth pitch in just over three weeks, is also looming large and may well shape his hopes of playing in next year''s Ashes series.