Speedster Steyn fires first warning shots
Injury relegated Dale Steyn from the leader of South Africa's attack to a spectator for most of the first test he played against India, and he kept a keen eye.
"Our bowlers are a lot more experienced now and if we play on a similar wicket I don't give India much of a chance," he said.
It was December 2006 on an all-swinging, all-seaming Wanderers pitch, and India found a way to beat South Africa by 123 runs well inside four days.
Ashwell Prince's five-and-a-half hour, 223-ball 97, one of only three scores above 50, was the closest anyone got to a century.The way the Indians went through the slinging right arm of a mad-haired fast bowler who had come to cricket from breakdancing and would be drummed out of the game as a match-fixer: Shanthakumaran Sreesanth had match figures of 8/99 and smashed Andre Nel over his head for six. The visitors' other proper quick also wasn't half bad: Zaheer Khan claimed 5/111.
They earned India their first win in the 10 tests they had played in South Africa.
Eleven years and seven matches later they have added only one more success - at Kingsmead in December 2010, when Zaheer and Harbhajan Singh took a half-dozen wickets each and Sreesanth grabbed four.
No one needs reminding that fast bowling rules in South Africa.
Steyn did so anyway with a shot across the bows of the Indian squad who will be here in the new year.
"India being one of those places where spin dominates, they tend to turn to their spinners all the time," he said.
"Here, they're going to have to turn to their seamers.
"It's the guys who consistently put the ball in the right area who are going to ask questions the whole time."Whether those guys can actually stand up and deliver, time and time again, is going to be a big ask for them."
This time "those guys" are no one of Zaheer's quality nor Sreesanth's chutzpah. Instead they are Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah along with allrounder Hardik Pandya.
Between them they have played 164 tests, 99 of them in the subcontinent. Only Ishant and Shami have earned test caps in South Africa, where they average 54.16 and 43.83.
What were Steyn's thoughts on that little lot?
"I think 'Bhuvi' is the one guy who can land the ball consistently in an area," he said.