Johannesburg, Dec.3 : South African tearaway Dale Steyn appears intent on exacting revenge upon the Australian side that punished him during his Proteas limited-overs debut three years ago.
Steyn is still haunted by his first match in South African colours, during which Phil Jaques thrashed him to all corners of Melbourne's Telstra Dome.
Clearly rattled by the Jaques onslaught, the then 22-year-old was removed from the attack after just five overs, but not before he had conceded 58 runs, including seven no-balls.
"I look back on that game as probably the most important of my career," Steyn told the Herald.
"I remember walking off the field embarrassed, and feeling unworthy of even being on the field. It was a terrible feeling, and I've used it to motivate me ever since. I had only played a handful of Tests, and was thrown in the deepest end imaginable against what was the best one-day side in the world at the time.
It showed me exactly what I needed to do to compete with the best, and forced me to go back to the nets and work hard on my game until I got it right. I refer back to that game often, and I think in the long run it probably helped to make me the bowler I am today," he added.
"This is my first Test tour of Australia, and I feel like I have improved a lot since that game in Melbourne. I can't wait to get out there and challenge the Australian batsmen, and hopefully show that I have come a long way from two or three years ago," he said.
South African coach Mickey Arthur believes the experience of the Telstra Dome will prove a major spur for his pace spearhead in Australia.
"It still rankles him a lot. He remembers that game very well, and he is very keen to get out there and set the record straight. He is a proud, aggressive guy and there are not many times in his career where he has been attacked like that. He can't wait to get over to Perth and get amongst the Australian top order. It will be a fantastic battle," Arthur said.
Steyn will lead a pace attack featuring the towering Morne Morkel and a remodelled Makhaya Ntini, who has shifted to bowling around-the-wicket in recent series to trouble left-handed batsmen. Monde Zondeki and Jacques Kallis complete a fast bowling line-up that appears ideally suited to a WACA wicket, rated by curator Cameron Sutherland yesterday as paceman-friendly.