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Tributes pour in as Dale Steyn becomes South Africa's highest Test wicket-taker
South Africa Legend

Tributes pour in as Dale Steyn becomes South Africa's highest Test wicket-taker

Scorecard & ball-by-ball: South Africa vs Pakistan - 1st Test - Centurion

Shaun Pollock on Wednesday described Dale Steyn as "the best fast bowler that South Africa has produced" after Steyn beat his record for the most Test wickets for the country.

Steyn broke the record he shared with Pollock when Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman became his 422nd victim on the first day of the first Test at SuperSport Park at Wednesday.

Zaman's dismissal brought to an end more than three years of frustration during which the fast bowler missed no fewer than 27 Test matches because of injury.

Steyn, 35, was mobbed by his teammates and hoisted on the shoulders of new-ball partner Kagiso Rabada after Zaman (12) edged the ball to Dean Elgar at third slip, reducing Pakistan to 17 for two after winning the toss and batting first.

Read: Pakistan pacers strike back after Olivier's 6-for overshadows Steyn's big day

Cricket world reacts to Steyn's achievement

Shaun Pollock

Jacques Kallis

Graeme Smith

AB de Villiers

Robin Peterson

Mark Boucher

Michael Vaughan

Kumar Sangakkara

Aakash Chopra

Read: Steyn looks beyond most Test wickets record for South Africa

Three tumultuous years

Ironically, before a groin strain ruled him out of action midway through a Test in India, Steyn had been remarkably durable for a fast bowler, playing in 48 consecutive Tests from December 2009 to November 2015, during which he took 232 wickets at an average of 21.72 and dominated the International Cricket Council Test rankings for bowlers. He spent a record 263 weeks in the top spot.

Steyn took his 400th Test wicket in his 80th Test in July 2015 –- the second-fastest in the world to reach the milestone –- and it seemed Pollock's record was about to fall.

But four serious injuries delayed what had seemed imminently inevitable.

The groin injury in India was followed by a shoulder injury during the first Test against England in December 2015 and, after a brief comeback, a more serious shoulder injury against Australia in November 2016 which caused him to miss 15 Tests.

Just when it seemed he had made a full recovery, he suffered a freak heel injury in the first Test against India in January this year, which caused him to miss the remaining Tests against India and a series against Australia.

After a slow recovery, Steyn spent time with English county Hampshire and returned to Test cricket in an unproductive series in Sri Lanka during which he took only two wickets in two Tests to be stuck level with Pollock.

Steyn is now 11th on his own on the all-time world list, needing to match New Zealand's Richard Hadlee on 431 to claim a place in the top ten.