Dale Steyn picked up 4-48 to move joint-seventh on the list of all-time wicket-takers as South Africa led Sri Lanka by 170 runs in the first test.
Steyn was the spearhead of South Africa’s attack again — as he was so often before a serious shoulder injury in 2016 sidelined him for the best part of two years — and overtook Indian great Kapil Dev in career test wickets.
Steyn was instrumental in bowling Sri Lanka out for 191 to see South Africa hold a 44-run first-innings lead in the series-opener at Kingsmead. The home batsmen increased that advantage to 170 with South Africa 126-4 in its second innings at stumps on the second day of a low-scoring game on a bowler-friendly pitch in Durban.
Aiden Markram (28), Hashim Amla (16), Temba Bavuma (3) and Dean Elgar (35) were all out for South Africa, with left-arm spinner Lasith Ambuldeniya taking 2-36 to add to his one wicket in the first innings on his test debut.
Earlier, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada had two wickets each and Duanne Olivier one in support of Steyn as South Africa’s four-man pace attack did the damage in the Sri Lankan first innings.
Steyn, 35 years old but with no imminent plans to retire, started things by removing Lahiru Thirimanne late on Day 1. He had Sri Lanka debutant Oshada Fernando lbw in the third over of the second day and added top-scorer Kusal Perera (51) and tailender Suranga Lakmal to his haul.
That took Steyn to 437 test wickets, past Dev and level with England’s Stuart Broad. Broad has played 126 tests. Steyn is playing his 92nd. Ahead of Steyn are just the six bowlers who have taken more than 500 test wickets: Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, James Anderson, Glenn McGrath and Courtney Walsh.
Steyn’s performance helped South Africa hit back after the home team batted first and was bowled out for 235 by Sri Lanka’s inexperienced bowlers.
In Sri Lanka’s first innings, Perera resisted Steyn for his fourth test 50 and first since November 2016 but had little help from the rest of the top order. Sri Lanka’s last three batsmen added a handy 49 runs to the total.